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Natrlhi
12-15-2009, 11:56 AM
For my first post under this thread, I thought I would start by making a list of the performances this year which made it one of the best years in metal for me. I decided to keep it all-metal, so that I could give exposure to as many metal bands as possible (U2 and Depeche Mode don't need the fucking press...;)). Here goes nothing:


Top 20 Live Metal Performances of 2009

20. Decrepit Birth - Peabody's - Cleveland, OH - 11/12/09
Awesome band on album. Even more awesome live. Their vocalist Bill Robinson is a really chill, down-to-earth guy.

19. Vader - Peabody's - Cleveland, OH - 11/12/09
My first time seeing these legendary Polish death metalers. Behemoth is perhaps a little higher on the theatrics scale, but Vader is way heavy and way fun to watch live as well.

18. Origin - Summer Slaughter Tour - The Phantasy Theatre - Lakewood, OH - 7/12/09
My second time seeing these guys. They are staggeringly accurate on album, and to tell you the truth, they sound almost the same live. The only other band that tops Origin in this regard is, well...read on. ;)

17. Pig Destroyer - Maryland Death Fest - Sonar - Baltimore, MD - 5/23/09
No, it's not Pig Destroyer (see above). What Pig Destroyer is, though, is incredibly brutal (notice...not spelled br00tal - I'm using the word as it was actually meant to be used...in English). They are loud, they are fast, and they are animated as hell on stage. Great show.

16. Necrophagist - Summer Slaughter Tour - The Phantasy Theatre - Lakewood, OH - 7/12/09
Not only is Muhammed Suiçmez one of the best extreme metal guitar players on this planet today, but the rest of this band is mind-blowingly good as well. They are the single most technically accurate band I have ever seen live. Unreal.

15. IntrOnaut - Beachland Ballroom - Cleveland, OH - 5/2/09
This highly under-rated band brought the heat to one of the best shows of 2009 (they opened for Kylesa and Mastodon). Their bass player is the focal point of the band, and he is disgustingly good at his "job". Their sound is eclectic, but it's HEAVY - and the crowd seemed to love it that night.

14. High on Fire - Grog Shop - Cleveland, OH - 10/19/09
Matt Pike and crew never fail to please. As Mankvill said, these guys are perhaps one of the best pure metal bands out there. Sabbath meets Motorhead, and is reborn as High on Fire. Hell, Pike is almost as ugly as Lemmy, too. ;)

13. Grayceon - White Star - Chicago, IL - 8/8/09
Jackie Perez Gratz takes a fucking electric cello and turns it into a heavy metal instrument right before your eyes. Plus, the guitar and drums in this band are awesome as well. There is nothing quite like Grayceon out there - they are unique (and uniquely good).

12. Meshuggah - House of Blues - Chicago, IL - 2/15/09
Meshuggah came to Chicago, took over the stage at the House of Blues, and was Meshuggah for just over an hour. What else do you need to know? Fucking crushing show - great set. These guys absolutely slay live.

11. Kylesa - Beachland Ballrom - Cleveland, OH - 5/2/09
This band haven't yet gotten the praise that they deserve, but this is starting to change. Their live show is fucking sweet. The dual drummers are used to better effect than any other band I've seen do this - their combined sound is thick and crunchy and just plain awesome. Plus, they have dual lead guitarists / vocalists in Laura Pleasants and Phillip Cope, and they also combine very well. Fantastic performance.

10. Pelican - Dark Lord Day - Three Floyds Brewery - Munster, IN - 4/25/09
The audience at this show was a bunch of drunken beer-lovers who had gathered at this brewery to buy a beer that is only available one day a year - and hence, nobody had to pay a thing to get into this show. I'm sure Pelican may have been paid something (or maybe not), but I'm sure it wasn't much if they did get paid. You never would have known it, though. They played for well over an hour, including a fifteen-minute plus version of perennial crusher "The Woods", which absolutely brought the fucking house down.

9. Russian Circles - Grog Shop - Cleveland, OH - 12/10/09
I fucking love the Grog Shop. I stood / sat at the edge of the stage, ten feet from this phenomenal band, and taped their entire set so I could take it home and relive the experience again. This Chicago post-metal trio is known for reproducing their album sound almost perfectly live, and all I can say is (1) it's true, and (2) if you've ever heard one of their albums (which you should - NOW!), you'll know why this show was so damned good.

8. Bolt Thrower - Maryland Death Fest - Sonar - Baltimore, MD - 5/23/09
The mighty Bolt Thrower made the trip across the big pond last summer for one show - Maryland Death Fest - and a throng of metalheads who clogged the street / parking lot outside the Sonar that Saturday night were blessed to see one of the greatest grindcore bands of all time play a totally crushing set. What a fucking experience!

7. Mastodon - Beachland Ballrom - Cleveland, OH - 5/2/09
After the unexpected (by folks other than myself, who was already a fan) awesomeness that was IntrOnaut, and the crushing heaviness that was Kylesa, only a band as good as Mastodon could follow and improve the quality of this show even further. They played their new album front to back, and then launched into a bunch of old favorites. With all band members sober and present and in the moment (which they were), this band is one of the best there is live.

6. Burst - Blondies - Detroit, MI - 10/8/09
For those that don't know, Burst is basically Sweden's answer to Mastodon - or at least they were. This was the second-to-last night of this tour, which was their first in the U.S., as well as their last tour ever. This band is playing a farewell show in their home town this month, and then will be no more. What a pity that is, because they are one of the best bands I have heard in a while. This show was definitely bittersweet, but it was one for the record books for me.

5. Metallica - Quicken Loans Arena - Cleveland, OH - 10/15/09
This was my fifth time or so seeing these legends - first time with Rob Trujillo on bass (who is an excellent addition to the band, BTW). This was my favorite performance of theirs, hands down. These guys may have some wrinkles and gray hairs (especially James!), but got DAMMIT they sure didn't show their age that night. The sheer spectacle of it all was enough to blow anyone away, but the set list, personality, and overall awesome vibe that was felt all around this sold-out NBA arena made this one of the best performances of the year.

4. Baroness - The Magic Stick - Detroit, MI - 11/24/09
From a huge show (Metallica), to a much smaller one (Baroness), the level of awesome actually did increase here. Baroness did not play their usual encore "Tower Falls" at this show, but somehow I still felt so jacked up at the end of this show just because of the pure awesomeness of what I had just witnessed, that it really didn't matter. They basically played the entire set non-stop, jamming on all eight cylinders for just over an hour. Most of the phenomenal Blue Record was played, aong with some old favorites. I got a chance to meet John Baizley after the show, and he might be one of the coolest dudes in metal. What a great time this show was - worth the road trip and then some!

3. Giant Squid - White Star - Chicago, IL - 8/8/09
Speaking of road trips, this show was the real reason I went to Chicago on this particular weekend back in August. My wife still thinks it was for Depeche Mode at Lollapalooza (and maybe it was, a little ;)), but this tiny show in this tiny bar on the north side of Chicago was the third hugest show I've seen this year. Maybe it was because I got to meet the whole band and talk to them, or maybe it was because I was so jazzed to actually see these guys this close to the Atlantic Ocean, but whatever the reason, I still remember this performance as being one of the most crushing things I've ever seen.

2. Isis - Grog Shop - Cleveland, OH - 6/9/09
Isis is perhaps my favorite post-metal band of all time. I had had a chance to see them on tour with Tool back in 2007, and that got f-ed up by...circumstances beyond my knowledge and control. :mad: This time, I got to see them play as a headliner, and they thundered out basically the entire "Wavering Radiant" album, plus a couple of older favorites, in just over an hour. This was one of the tightest shows I have ever seen - the sound was perfect, and the playing was flawless. The signature Isis wall of sound was in full effect that night, and it blew us all away.

1. Carcass - Peabody's - Cleveland, OH - 3/14/09
It was Carcass. They got back together, and played in front of me, live. The crowd thrashed like it was the fucking late 80's / early 90's again. I heard "Exhume to Consume" live, for fuck's sake! What part of FUCKING AWESOME do you not understand?!? Seriously, though - these founding fathers of grindcore put on a truly legendary show last March, and it was truly a blessing to get to see them at all, not to mention in a nice, intimate little venue like Peabody's. We were crammed in there like sardines, and we paid for the privilege. Many other crowd favorites made us yell / growl ourselves hoarse. Best show of 2009.


What a phenomenal year this was for metal! I was truly blessed to get to see all these shows - and more - live this year. My cup truly runneth over. Nice. :D

mankvill
12-15-2009, 01:16 PM
Yes! Although not year-end material for me, Kylesa does put on a helluva show! Heavy as bbbaaalllsss!

DethMaiden
12-15-2009, 03:37 PM
Three of these bands are in my top ten performances of the year. :D Won't spoil which, but nice write-ups. :horns:

idrinkwine732
12-15-2009, 05:16 PM
Giant Squid are awesome, haven't seen em live yet...

Natrlhi
12-15-2009, 09:38 PM
Giant Squid are awesome
They are!

haven't seen em live yet...
You should!

:D

idrinkwine732
12-15-2009, 10:30 PM
I happen to live in SF, so I think I could get to see them soon.

Natrlhi
12-16-2009, 07:20 AM
I happen to live in SF, so I think I could get to see them soon.

I know, and I hate you for that. ;)

EDIT: You gotta check out Grayceon, too. Their cello player (and co-founder) is in Giant Squid, and they are fucknawesome.

jhdeity
12-16-2009, 08:24 AM
Very cool list. I'm surprised you didn't count opening acts also. Cynic opening for meshuggah and Burst opening for Gojira in my case took those shows to a much higher level.

This way makes a better list but I'm all about the whole concert experience. Or what I remember of it... hahaha

Natrlhi
12-16-2009, 12:23 PM
Very cool list. I'm surprised you didn't count opening acts also. Cynic opening for meshuggah and Burst opening for Gojira in my case took those shows to a much higher level.

This way makes a better list but I'm all about the whole concert experience. Or what I remember of it... hahaha

I specifically kept it focused on performances of the individual bands. I agree with what you are saying though. For that reason, I was thinking about doing another, shorter list of the top five SHOWS of the year. In fact, since you mentioned it, why the hell not? Here goes:


Top 5 Metal Shows of 2009


5. Isis / Pelican / Keelhaul - Grog Shop - Cleveland, OH - 6/9/09
As I mentioned in my review of the Isis performance at this show, the band was incredibly tight and the sound was fantastic. The quintessential Isis "wall of sound" was incredible. Plus, motherfucking PELICAN opened for this show. Their set could have been a headlining act all by itself. It was essentially the same set that I had seen them play a few months before in Chicago, but slightly shorter and slightly less intense (still very, very good though). Keelhaul is local to Cleveland, but they are technically a national act as well, and it's always great seeing them, too. They played a bunch of stuff from their new album, which is very good. Overall, this was a very heavy, sludgy night - and one hell of a memorable show.
:blaze:

4. Meshuggah / Cynic / The Faceless - House of Blues - Chicago, IL - 2/15/09
My long-standing wish to see the mighty Meshuggah in a headlining show was first realized at the House of Blues in Chicago. I had seen them before opening for Ministry (on their farewell tour), and this taste is all I needed to get the addiction started. Meshuggah live is one of the heaviest things you will ever hear. Period. Plus, these Swedes are just so damned talented that it just defies my puny brain. Tomas Haake is one of the best drummers alive, and witnessing him play songs like "Bleed" is just sublime. Cynic opened this show, and although they are not much for stage antics - in fact, this seems to be the exact opposite of what they are all about - they are still very good live because of the peaceful-yet-heavy vibe they exude. The Faceless were OK, but frankly this show was in my top five from the get-go simply because of Meshuggah and Cynic.
MESHUGGAH = :bricks:. Any questions?

3. Giant Squid / Grayceon / Bloody Panda - White Star - Chicago, IL - 8/8/09
When "The Ichthyologist" came out, I made comments to many of my metal friends that, since their cello player Jackie Perez Gratz is also in Grayceon, and since they had also released a new album at the tail end of 2008, it would be phenomenal to see them tour together. Well, my wish was finally granted in a little dive bar on the north side of Chicago on a Friday night last August. These two relatively unknown powerhouse bands took over that place and performed what I'll bet is one of the most badass shows that ever took place there. As I've mentioned elsewhere, I also got to meet the entire band and even got pictures and autographs from all of them as well (something I almost never do). They were all some of the nicest people I've ever met in a metal band, and I almost feel like I made a few new "friends" that night. I won't forget that show for a long, long time.
:D

2. Mastodon / Kylesa / IntrOnaut - Beachland Ballrom - Cleveland, OH - 5/2/09
To be honest, I wanted to see Kylesa most of all at this show. The fact that Mastodon was headlining was an awesome bonus, to be sure, because I had never seen them live before. Also, I am a VERY big fan of IntrOnaut - and their presence on this bill sealed the deal for me. I went into this with very high expectations - which is not always a good thing - but my already high expectations were literally crushed to bits that night. IntrOnaut brought the house down as the fucking OPENER. People all around me were saying "holy shit - who the hell is THAT?" (I love it when that happens with a band I already know is awesome). Then, Kylesa took the stage and just owned for about forty-five minutes. As I've said previously, their stage show is not to be missed, even if you are just a casual or curious fan - GO SEE THEM! The dual drummers are incredible, and the dual guitar / vocal talent of Laura and Phillip are also fantastic. Then Mastodon came along and crushed all of our skulls into Oblivion (pun intended :)). Each band played an awesome set, each band was phenomenal in their own right, and each was more awesome than the one before. Can you say TRIFECTA?!?
:rocker:

1. Bolt Thrower / Napalm Death / Pig Destroyer / General Surgery / Birdflesh / Brutal Truth / Hail of Bullets - Maryland Death Fest - Sonar - Baltimore, MD - 5/23/09
It was Maryland Fucking Death Fest - are you kidding me? Hell, I found out my van had been towed, and that it was going to cost me $325 CASH ONLY to get it out - and this is before Bolt Thrower played - and it was still the best overall concert experience I had last year. I mean, I would have driven the 500+ miles for Bolt Thrower, Napalm Death and Pig Destroyer alone, not to mention all the other awesome bands I got to see. Hail of Bullets is awesome - they are as close to the old (read: good) Pestilence as you will ever get (besides maybe Asphyx, who played the night before this), and that is a very, very good thing. Birdflesh was a pleasant little surprise - they are a crazy good little grindcore trio from Sweden with a flair for the ridiculous - and it works. General Surgery were fun, with all the blood and theatrics. They're no Carcass, but they know that, and it seems to be OK with them (and me, too). Brutal Truth was...well...brutal (what else could they be?). The weather was god-awful hot as fuck, and like I said, I got some really bad news right in the middle of the fray, but I got to see a ton of metalheads from all parts of the country crammed into the street / parking lot outside the venue, moshing their balls and tits off to bands like the mighty Bolt Thrower. I would make that trek again in a heartbeat (but I'd sure as fuck park my van in a more obviously legal spot next time! :tongue:)
:rockdevil

Honorable Mention:
Necrophagist / Ensiferum / Darkest Hour / Dying Fetus / Origin (plus some other bands that sucked) - Summer Slaughter Tour - The Phantasy Theatre - Lakewood, OH - 7/12/09
Two of the most technically-staggering bands in the world together at the same show (Necrophagist and Origin), plus one of the most fun (Ensiferum), plus one of the nicest "surprise" bands of the year for me (Darkest Hour), plus one of the heaviest riffing bands on the planet (Dying Fetus) equals HONORABLE MENTION TIME, BABY!!!

jhdeity
12-16-2009, 02:33 PM
Yeah my buddy got towed the last time there for Suicidal Tendencies. They feast on people who park on the left side of the building in that little corner. Better to park a street over and trudge it or get there early and park in the main lot.

Yeah I wasn't that big on Faceless live either and am surprised they're headling pretty big shows now. I probably didn't give them much of a chance because I was chomping at the bit to see Cynic and the mighty Mesuggah.

Combustion and Suffer in Truth back to back was top 3 highlight of my decade... maybe life.

xStructualDefect
12-16-2009, 03:11 PM
geesh i really regret not seeing Carcass and Meshuggah this year. sounds like they were a blast live.

also great to hear that on both the Summer Slaughter and Trivium tours, many people have been saying how suprised by how great Darkest Hour were live. hopefully they've been winning over some new fans they deserve it.

and maybe it's just but i feel like i'm the only person on this board who doesn't like Kylesa. they bored me incredibly when i saw them in 2007, and i heard their new album which didn't impress me and left me bored also. to each of their own though.

IrritatedTrout
12-16-2009, 05:34 PM
The weather was god-awful hot as fuck

Dear god, yes it was. I got on the outside stage rail probably around 2 and I didn't leave until 11 when Bolt Thrower had finished, I was soooooo fucking dehydrated I honestly thought I was gonna pass out during the BT set.

Natrlhi
12-16-2009, 09:27 PM
Dear god, yes it was. I got on the outside stage rail probably around 2 and I didn't leave until 11 when Bolt Thrower had finished, I was soooooo fucking dehydrated I honestly thought I was gonna pass out during the BT set.

Wow, really? Chances are, I may have bumped right into you at one point or another then, because I was on and off the rail for the outside stage myself throughout the day. It's always weird to find out that someone from METALSETLISTS was at the same show you were, after the fact. DethMaiden and I were at the same Carcass show last March without knowing it as well. Cool beans!

IrritatedTrout
12-16-2009, 10:24 PM
http://www.flickr.com/photos/brandonwu/3585543352/in/set-72157618763463510/

I'm in the middle with the beard and the Vital Remains t shirt.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/brandonwu/3573972677/in/set-72157618763463510/

During BT's set, I'm off to the right. Most intense crowd crush I've ever experienced.


Did you see the kids on the overpass during Napalm Death? Wild stuff.

Natrlhi
12-16-2009, 10:45 PM
http://www.flickr.com/photos/brandonwu/3585543352/in/set-72157618763463510/

I'm in the middle with the beard and the Vital Remains t shirt.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/brandonwu/3573972677/in/set-72157618763463510/

During BT's set, I'm off to the right. Most intense crowd crush I've ever experienced.


Did you see the kids on the overpass during Napalm Death? Wild stuff.

Yeah, I actually remember several of the faces in those photos. I may have spoken to you after the Brutal Truth set - I was scrounging for a set list on the rail after it was over (and got one, BTW). I remember the dudes on either side of you in the Brutal Truth shot - I remember thinking they looked like heavy metal Hobbits. :tongue: I also remember the tall skinny guy with no shirt on. If you move two people to the left, over the head of the guy with the black sleeveless shirt who looks like he's had quite enough of this shit already, I think that's my hand. I was screaming out the lyrics to whatever song that was (or pretending to - who knows what BT's lyrics actually are half the time?).

...and yeah, I totally remember the dudes up on the bridge. Like you said, wild.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/brandonwu/3584736387/in/set-72157618763463510/

idrinkwine732
12-16-2009, 11:03 PM
I know, and I hate you for that. ;)

EDIT: You gotta check out Grayceon, too. Their cello player (and co-founder) is in Giant Squid, and they are fucknawesome.

Big Grayceon fan as well, they went on tour with Giant Squid not to long ago right?

jhdeity
12-23-2009, 05:30 AM
I spoke with the manager of Sonar and she said they're still working on a few bands for the Deathfest to add to Friday night. She said ticket sales are down but always pick up right after teh holidays. I said if she wants to sell more 3 day passes they should add someone else BIG Friday and maybe even Saturday.

Natrlhi
01-25-2010, 03:32 PM
Bump.

Well, the "Best (and Worst) Albums of 2009" list is finally finished, which is to say, the rankings are finalized, and the bottom ten albums have reviews written, so I'll be posting those tonight. My goal is to post ten albums per day, until we get to the top ten. Hopefully, I can keep up with that pace, because I still have several reviews to write.

BTW, sorry in advance this shit took so long. My PC took a crap on me a few weeks ago, and I've been trying to get my OS reinstalled and all of my apps and drivers and shit back in order. Everything's not hunkey dorey yet, but at least I've reinstalled MS Office so I can finish the mini-reviews at home and post them here.

Stay tuned, bitches. There will be some surprises, and at the very least, I personally guarantee that no one on this board has heard everything on the list (and if you have, we should definitely talk!). Chances are, you'll find something worth looking into, and if not, you'll probably find something worth arguing about. ;)

Natrlhi
01-25-2010, 03:34 PM
Big Grayceon fan as well, they went on tour with Giant Squid not to long ago right?Sorry, Wine - I never saw your question up there. Yeah, the two bands did tour together last August.

Here is my review of the show I went to:

http://www.metalsetlists.com/showthread.php?t=10997

Natrlhi
01-25-2010, 09:19 PM
OK, kids. At the risk of being extremely anti-climactic (because it's a week away from being fucking February already :snivel:), here it is:


Natrlhi's 100 (Almost) Best (and Worst) Albums of 2009

Just a few caveats before I begin:


I included a couple of non-metal albums, but not many.
I included a couple of live albums, but not many.
I included a couple of EP's, but not many.
I included one compilation album, but it's so good, I just couldn't leave it out (plus it's my list, so piss off if you don't like it ;)).
The stuff that really matters is the top thirty or so, and the bottom twenty or so. I didn't stress out too much about the relative ranking of the middle fifty or so, and neither should you. It would have taken me forever to analyze the shit out of the relative rankings of albums in the middle, so if a band or album you like gets ranked higher or lower than another one in the middle of the list, you can file a complaint through the proper channels, and I will probably ignore it. ;)


So that's it - here goes nothing.

One more thing - I usually give special mentions to albums that I didn't have time to listen to, and although I'm sure they would have made my list, I couldn't give them a fair shot, so I just leave them out. This year, that happened with just two albums (which would have made the total an even hundred :eyes:):

Lazarus A.D. - The Onsluaght
Devin Townsend Project - Addicted!

Apologies to those two albums, and their fans. The Nat only has so much fucking time on his hands. :snivel:

All right - enough screwing around...


http://www.metalkingdom.net/album/img/d13/22862.jpg
98. Callisto – Providence
This album is a major evolutionary step for this Finnish post-metal band that many have compared to the great Cult of Luna. However, change is not always a good thing. For starters, the band has a new vocalist, and the original vocalist from Callisto’s excellent debut album “True Nature Unfolds”, now exclusively plays guitar. The vocals on this album are about 90% clean, with only the occasional scream that made Callisto’s debut album so memorable and heavy. The huge riffs are now all but gone, and the dynamics are fairly flat, as is the production of the album itself. Overall, I would have to label this album as a pretty significant disappointment, and I do so reluctantly because I really enjoyed Callisto’s previous material.


http://file.blog-shinjuku-metal.diskunion.net/chimaira.jpg
97. Chimaira – The Infection
This band is very exciting to watch live. I know this because I recently saw them at a free MySpace Secret Show in my (and their) hometown. However, one might never know it based on their latest release. In fact, the couple of new songs they selected for the set list for the above-mentioned show were probably the weakest ones in the whole set. Almost every song on this album seems to be just “phoned in” – and this is the kiss of death for a band who lives by the memorable riff as much as Chimaira does. Also, the fourteen-minute instrumental track at the end of the album left me totally baffled. I’m not sure where Chimaira was headed with this track, but it did nothing for me (and lest we not forget – I am a huge fan of instrumental metal). Unfortunately, this album is just basically an “epic fail” (in the vernacular of their younger fans), for this otherwise vital band. Hopefully they can turn things around with their next release…


http://cosmicdiary.org/blogs/emanuel_sungging_mumpuni/wp-content/uploads/2009/06/folder-a-lex.jpg
96. Sepultura – A-Lex
Well, I hate to start with the obvious comment, but this album is certainly not the Sepultura of old. Both Cavaleras brothers have now departed the band, and gone almost entirely is the tribal influence (be it in the jungle drums of “Ratamahatta”, or the pure, simple animal aggression of their earlier work) of this legendary band. This is a concept album based on the classic book and movie “A Clockwork Orange”. Concept albums sometimes work and sometimes don’t. This year, it seems to have worked for Giant Squid, but not so much for Sepultura. The album itself does have a few good highlights – such as the third track “Filthy Rot”, which harkens back to the tribal sound I mentioned earlier, only to decay quite nicely into a Meshuggah-esque beat more fitting of their modern extreme metal sound. However, I just like classic old Sepultura better.


http://www.metalinjection.net/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/daath_-_the_concealers.jpg
95. Dååth – The Concealers
For fans of this band, this album should not be a disappointment. For those seeking something unique – be it in terms of heaviness, or speed, or extreme accuracy, or unforgettable riffs, or something else – this album might be a different story. It’s reasonably (very?) well-produced. The vocals are harsh (and sometimes even brutal). The playing is very clean and well-executed. In short, there are not many major complaints to be made of this album, but then again neither are there many major praises to be bestowed. Personally, I find it regrettable when an album this solid is also this forgettable, but in the words of Primus, “They Can’t All Be Zingers”.


http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_ro3H0PZWsQk/SjZugMFGg6I/AAAAAAAABOo/fAYU1d1RekY/s320/9e5f46daf3204eddad64257d8ce4af02.jpg
94. Constants – The Foundation, The Machine, The Ascension
I was really excited to finally sit down and listen to this album, based on the samples of the band’s previous album which I listened to on their MySpace page. Constants are a post-rock trio from Boston, which I discovered by linking to their page from the page of Caspian, one of my favorite bands in the genre. What I heard when I played this album for the first time was much more akin to shoegaze than post-rock, and not necessarily in an ultra-cool “Jesu” kind of way. The vocals are very prominent and clean, and to be honest it doesn’t quite sound like the same band I heard when I first listened to the samples online. This is definitely good music, but to me it’s just rather unremarkable, and neither very heavy nor very emotionally-invested – it’s just there. So unfortunately, I have to label this album as a disappointment, although there is really nothing wrong with it on a technical level. It’s just not what I was expecting, and not my cup of tea.


http://www.metalkingdom.net/album/img/d32/24031.jpg
93. Dysrhythmia – Psychic Maps
I first heard this band on the Relapse Records sampler that was included as the bonus disc in the “Call of the Mastodon” package, and I was intrigued. I bought a used copy of their 2006 album “Barriers and Passages” on CD, and it was pretty enjoyable. This band plays a unique brand of progressive instrumental music that, as their name suggests, intentionally defies typical time signatures and rhythms in order to create something that is unique. Unfortunately, not only is this somewhat of a niche approach, but if the band gets too obscure at the price of “listenability” or accessibility, then problems can occur. Enter this album. “Psychic Maps” just seems to be a little too obscure for my taste, and there don’t seem to be enough memorable hooks or other idiosyncrasies to keep me coming back. It just turned out to be a fairly forgettable album for me.


http://image-7.verycd.com/8aace6dd857698c4fed64e49d533a01544135(600x)/thumb.jpg
92. Behold! The Monolith – Behold! The Monolith
This band plays a fairly aggressive brand of stoner metal that sounds like it has the potential to compete with bands like High on Fire or Bison B.C. Unfortunately, the production on this album is just abysmal, and the vocals are not only shabbily produced, but also there seems to be a grating quality to the vocals that no amount of production can fix. In other words, the band itself has potential, but there are some technical issues here that need to be remedied before the band’s true potential can be realized (in my opinion). Some highlights are the thick, crunchy bass lines in such songs as “Battle for Balls Deep” (not to mention that song title – nicely done!), and some interesting use of unconventional time signatures from time to time. Also, there is some intriguing use of pedal steel guitar in the aforementioned song, which reminded me of the mighty Red Sparowes upon first listen. Lastly, there is some decent percussion work afoot here. With some technical improvements, this band has the potential to be a successful stoner / doom outfit.


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91. Lamb of God – Wrath
When I am in the mood for aggressive, guitar-driven metal with shouted vocals and plenty of pounding double bass, but want to keep it simple and straightforward with no frills, Lamb of God are one group I can count on. These guys aren’t really pushing any boundaries or breaking new ground, but their music is aggressive and fast, and I have no real criticisms of their sound (other than that it really isn’t that unique). This album seems to be just about as interesting as their other material, but since I don’t get too analytical when I listen to them I really can’t compare their albums against one another. This is classic Lamb of God – you either like it or you don’t.


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90. Otep – Smash the Control Machine
Most people who don’t know or don’t appreciate this band have probably not heard some of their earlier work. Many folks who don’t really like Otep compare them to a female-fronted version of Korn, only with more rap and less metal. Lately, these comparisons seem to be more and more accurate. Recent albums seem to have had fewer flashes of brilliance, and instead have grabbed for the low-hanging fruit of formulaic songs that just barely “get the job done”. The chills that went up my spine when I first heard the heaviness that was “Blood Pig” or the addictive riffs and brutal vocals on “T.R.I.C.”, or the haunting story told in the incredibly creepy “Jonestown Tea”, seem to be no longer forthcoming. Speaking of which, all three of these tracks are from Otep’s debut “Sevas Tra”, which is highly recommended over this album.

idrinkwine732
01-25-2010, 09:36 PM
I'm a big Lamb of God fan and I didn't like Wrath, I thought they tried too hard to recreate Ashes/Palaces so hard that everything sounded forced.

Natrlhi
01-26-2010, 08:37 AM
I'm a big Lamb of God fan and I didn't like Wrath, I thought they tried too hard to recreate Ashes/Palaces so hard that everything sounded forced.

I feel samesies re: The Infection. I'm basically a Chimaira fan (they come from my home town, and they rock pretty hard), but this latest album of theirs was just totally phoned in. Complete garbage, for the most part. :(

Natrlhi
01-26-2010, 12:55 PM
Continuing on...


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89. Job for a Cowboy – Ruination
Before listening to this album, I had I had heard some comments from JFAC fans that this album is a lot less deathcore and a lot more death metal that the previous album, “Genesis”. While I would agree for the most part, I do still hear quite a bit of deathcore here, which in general is not a good thing for me (I’m just being honest!). I will admit that this band is pretty good at fusing the two genres, similarly to bands such as The Red Chord (whose new album I did not hear this year…oh well). The vocals on this are better, the production is cleaner, the riffs are more clear and catchy, and the overall flow of the album is smoother and less choppy than its predecessor – so by all rights, this is a big step up for this band. If I could only get over the deathcore aspect of this album, I think I would really like it – at least it isn’t full of garbage breakdowns and other totally easy, lame song devices that make this genre so difficult to swallow for so many people.


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88. General Surgery – Corpus in Extremis: Analysing Necrocriticism
I had my first real exposure to this band at last year’s Maryland Death Fest. They are obviously inspired in almost every way by the great grindcore legends Carcass, except that General Surgery seems to missing one crucial ingredient (maybe two). They just do not seem to have riffs that are as catchy as Carcass’s early material, and of course they are following someone else’s example instead of seeing what they can come up with on their own. I mean, don’t get me wrong – this album is refreshing in the sense that it’s as close to old-school Carcass as you’re going to get in an album released in the past decade (save perhaps a few by the band Deaden), and the stage antics of this band of goofballs (which include buckets of fake blood being ladled and splashed out by attractive, busty young girls in nurse uniforms – rrroooowwwrrrrr!) are fun enough, but this review is of the songs on this album, and quite frankly most of those songs, while familiar-sounding, just aren’t as compelling as those that inspired this band’s work.


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87. Merrimack – Grey Rigorism
During my research for this album, I came across an online review for this album that started thusly: “There are a lot of avant-garde, sonically adventurous black metal bands coming out of France these days. Merrimack is not one of them.” While I don’t think I would have thought about starting my review of this album that way, I think I have to say that I somewhat see the reviewer’s point. This album is dark and old-school sounding, but it really isn’t very adventurous or original, and really does feel somewhat uninspired. As the reviewer also points out, with bands like Mayhem, Marduk and Immortal still putting out albums in this genre (spoiler alert: the latter of which has an album which appears much higher up this particular list), albums like this just disappear into the noise. Black metal is a genre that is really evolving these days, but this band just does not seem to be following that same “generally upward” trend.


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86. Psyopus – Odd Senses
Wow. There is a whole lot going on here with this album. First, let me state the obvious and say that the band’s founder Chris “Arpmandude” Arp is a complete animal. I read somewhere that he had to prove to someone at a record label or something that he could actually play as fast as he does on his albums, and that Psyopus got their first major break because he showed up and blew them away (or something along those lines). I can believe it. I’ve never heard anyone play this fast (and I listen to Necrophagist and Origin). There are also some cool technical tricks at work here, too. The chorus of one of the songs is comprised of spoken sound clips strung together in quick progression – it’s a nice touch that got my attention. There is more to discover, too, but suffice to say that for all the technical wizardry at work here, I just had a fairly hard time getting into this album. Genghis Tron does a lot of technical tricks, but at the end of the day they have some pretty compelling licks in their songs that hit me on more of an emotional level than an intellectual one, and so I like them more. This is a case in point for something I said in last year’s review of Origin and Arsis – “fast for the sake of fast” just doesn’t cut it with me (although Chris Arp is about as fast as they come). I need to connect to the music somehow.


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85. Emperor – Live Inferno
One interesting aspect of this live album is that it is a two-volume set – presumably the full set of two different shows (Wacken Open Air and Inferno Festivals). Be advised, though – each disc contains approximately the same material (the Inferno Festival set includes two or three tracks which aren’t on the Wacken disc). However, the sound quality of both discs is very good, and although I am not a huge Emperor fan it would seem that the set lists do include many of the fan favorites from over the years (much of it is from their earliest albums). So basically, as with many live albums, fans of Emperor should love this. New fans might also enjoy it – I did.


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84. Revolting Cocks – Sex-O Olympic-O
Those that know me, know that I am a big fan of some very serious music indeed. It may come in many different forms (extreme speed, extreme accuracy, heavy low ends, deep lyrics, etc.), but usually I am looking for so-called “serious” substance. Sometimes, though, I guess just need to check my brain at the door. Enter this album. This is Ministry cross-bred with equal parts Marilyn Manson and Rob Zombie. The politics (at least in recent years) of Ministry give way to the popcorn horror movie, drunken biker, robot hooker antics of Zombie, and the white-faced, pierced/tattooed, teenager-trying-oh-so-hard-to-piss-his/her-parents-off goth-ness of Manson. This is not a serious album, but it can be reasonably fun if taken in the right context.


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83. Jesu – Infinity
This full-length album is one of two releases in 2009 for the metal-gaze outfit Jesu – the other being a four-song, twenty-five minute EP titled “Opiate Sun”. This album, unlike the EP, is very explorative – and different from Jesu’s previous work in many ways, the most obvious of which is that the album consists of a single fifty-minute track. Perhaps less obvious – at least at first – are the differences in tone, song structure and overall sound. For example, there are few vocals here, and the ones that are present are, for the most part, sampled, or – hold on to your hats, Jesu fans – shouted. Yes, there are vocals on this album that border on harsh. Also, much of the fuzz which is typically present in the guitar playing on Jesu’s other material is ostensible absent here. Now, that’s not to say that there is no distortion used on this album – it’s just not used in the typical “Jesu” way. The production is a bit cleaner, allowing the listener to hear more of what’s going on between the guitars (for example, keyboards, or in some cases, silence). At the end of the day, this album is one of exploration for this band, and it is a solid piece of work. It’s not quite what most Jesu fans are probably used to, at least in terms of the more subtle nuances, but on the other side of the coin, this is unmistakably still a Jesu album, and that’s a good thing.


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82. Keelhaul – Triumphant Return to Obscurity
While 2009 was one of the best years in recent memory for metal albums in almost every genre, it hasn’t exactly been a banner year for bands from Cleveland – and while this album is much better than the bitterly disappointing new album from Chimaira, it would seem that Keelhaul’s latest release is probably doomed to be exactly what its title promises. I realize that, with an album title like that, Keelhaul is completely happy where they are, and they’re not trying to please anyone but themselves – and while that is admirable for the most part, it’s also just a little bit disappointing. Don’t get me wrong – this album is classic Keelhaul at its best – heavy as hell, twisting and turning every which way in terms of song structures and time signatures, and obviously designed to be played loud as hell – so by Keelhaul’s standards, it’s probably a damned good album. I just found most of it to be a little bit inaccessible, and I didn’t really get caught up in any hooks or memorable parts that just dragged me in (such as the chorus in “360”). This album just “happens”, and didn’t really grab me and make me want to come back for more.


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81. Muse – The Resistance
The first time I really paid attention to Muse was last September at Giants Stadium in New York (well, technically, East Rutherford, NJ) when they opened for U2. I was absolutely blown away. They played a few songs from their new album, including the rousing album opener “Uprising”, as well as old favorites such as “Supermassive Black Hole”, and “Knights of Cydonia”. What a show. Sometime after I got home, I grabbed a copy of “The Resistance” and started listening expectantly. What I heard was somewhat unexpected. I heard a band that can clearly do almost anything they want to do musically, including not only sound like Queen but also write an album that is basically a rock opera such as Queen used to do. While this is impressive, it left me asking “Why?”. Why would a band this good try so hard to sound like someone else? Their own material is just so damned good, I just didn’t understand the motivation behind writing an album like this. So while I do give Muse credit for doing something extraordinary (and I’m not surprised at all that they could pull it off), I have to say it didn’t please me much as a fan.


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80. Kreator – Hordes of Chaos
It took me quite a while to bring myself to download this album (I admit it – but let’s face it – there was no way I was going to pay for this). The reason it took so long is that I remember what Kreator used to sound like (basically, like old Destruction – a German thrash / death metal band), and I sensed that after all the line-up changes, retirements and coming back from retirements and the like, that this group would have lost their edge. Sadly, I was right. This is very mediocre, which doesn’t sound all that bad, but with all the excellent music out there today it is basically (and unfortunately for Kreator) the kiss of death. Kreator might just be irrelevant at this stage.
Edit: After listening to this album a few more times (maybe more for the sake of posterity than anything else), I admit some of the riffs have grown on me a bit. There are also some super-lame moments (like the clean vocals at the beginning of “Amok Run”, even though the song really takes off later), but at least the album is thrashy as hell. High marks for energy / effort.

DethMaiden
01-26-2010, 02:42 PM
No comments on anything except the Kreator so far, which I would have a hell of a lot higher than #80. Top 25 of the year for me. Sheesh. :tp: ;)

idrinkwine732
01-26-2010, 04:53 PM
I'm with you on Hordes of Chaos, but Muse at 81? Shocking, It's no Absolution or Black Holes for sure, but I thought it was fantastic.

mankvill
01-26-2010, 06:48 PM
Saw that DVD/CD of Emperor at Hastings today. Looked mighty tasty!

jhdeity
01-27-2010, 06:24 AM
I kinda liked RevCo. Been a huge Mnistry fan for years but the side projects never really grabbed me except a song or 2 here and there. If there are 80 better cd's than Kreator, Muse and LOG this should get interesting...

Natrlhi
01-27-2010, 07:46 AM
No comments on anything except the Kreator so far, which I would have a hell of a lot higher than #80. Top 25 of the year for me. Sheesh. :tp: ;)The problem for me is, I was around when Kreator first came out, and the new stuff is nothing like that. Just like the Carcass conversations we've had in the past, I'm stuck thinking that the "old" sound is the way they "should" sound. It certainly wasn't a BAD album - truth be told, I liked almost everything on my list to some degree.

I'm with you on Hordes of Chaos, but Muse at 81? Shocking, It's no Absolution or Black Holes for sure, but I thought it was fantastic.Musically, it is definitely a superb album (as are all of Muse's albums). The problem I had was that the style they adopted for it had me scratching my head. Thus, it got very little playing time in my queue, which was one of the major factors I used to rank all these albums. The more it got my attention (and therefore got played), the higher up my list it will appear - generally speaking.

Saw that DVD/CD of Emperor at Hastings today. Looked mighty tasty!I downloaded that one, so I wasn't aware it was a CD/DVD set. I know there at least two audio discs in there. Maybe we are talking about two different things, or maybe not. Like I said, if you are an Emperor fan, this is likely to look very appealing. :rocker:

I kinda liked RevCo. Been a huge Mnistry fan for years but the side projects never really grabbed me except a song or 2 here and there. If there are 80 better cd's than Kreator, Muse and LOG this should get interesting...I actually "kinda" liked it, too. It just went out of my music queue about as fast as it went in, and never returned. If you read my comments to Wine above, you'll realize that this generally means I'm going to rank it lower. Like I told Brad, I actually liked most of what is on my list. By the way, I've been a Ministry fan since they first came out, and RevCo as well. I jammed "Beers, Steers and Queers" non-stop in college. :D This new album kinda struck me as Rob Zombie lite, but it was (is) fun. EDIT: ...and how could you at least not love the album cover?!? :lovedup:


----------

THANKS EVERYBODY FOR YOUR COMMENTS...ANOTHER UPDATE IS SCHEDULED FOR TONIGHT, HOPEFULLY.

Natrlhi
01-28-2010, 06:12 AM
Missed last night's update, as I laid down with my son when I put him to bed, and straight up crashed. Missed my P90X workout and everything - dammit. :mad: Oh well, I must have needed the sleep (in fact, I did - bad :eyes:).

I'll try to get something out there later today. :snivel:

Natrlhi
01-30-2010, 03:58 PM
Sorry I'm off my pace here, guys. Shit has been weird lately. Right now I am on the road traveling with my wife and kid, but I had some downtime so I thought I would throw another quick ten up there...


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79. Belphegor – Walpurgis Rites – Hexenwahn
Some black metal bands (mainly older ones) have focused on minimalism and low production values in their sound. Belphegor is not one of these. Some have gone the route of being more on the symphonic side of the spectrum. This is not Belphegor, either. Yet others have gone to the eclectic / avant garde side of things, and again, not Belphegor. So one might think that Belphegor is a pretty unique band in the black metal scene, but to be honest, this album still just sound to me like black-metal-by-the-numbers, and I can’t really explain why. Maybe it’s because Immortal’s 2009 release (discussed further up this list) was just so brutal and awesome, or maybe it’s because I’ve never been a true “fan” of this band, but this is one of many albums which appear in the middle of my list this year simply because, although I listened to them and liked what I heard, there was just some je ne sais quoi kind of thing missing that would demand repeated listens. If you’re a huge black metal fan, or even a passing Belphegor fan, you’ll probably like this album even more than I did. It is certainly evil-sounding and heavy.


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78. Suffocation – Blood Oath
This is one of many albums that ended up in the middle of my list this year, simply because there was nothing about the album that really grabbed my attention beyond the band making decent music in their respective genre, and being reasonably competent at what they do. I mean, one thing I do know about Suffocation is that they are very brutal-sounding, and they can definitely play their instruments well enough. The drums are pretty fast, and the bass guitar is really thick and heavy. This is damn good death metal. However, it’s just not the type of sound I just can’t wait to get back to and hear again. Like what I hear? Yup. Compelled to listen again? Not really. I will give this album decent marks for production as well – the various parts seem to be really well-balanced, and the overall sound of this band comes across very well.


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77. Municipal Waste – Massive Aggressive
Lots of folks have been making a really big deal out of Municipal Waste lately, and while I can understand why, I am also a bit puzzled by this phenomenon. Certainly, they are one of the best modern thrash / hardcore crossover bands out there today – but my reaction to this is, “So what?” I mean, if I didn’t know better, I would think I was listening to a D.R.I. album when I hear this album (which is basically a compliment, as they were tops at the same game back in their day). However, the reason I never really fully got into this genre is that all of the bands, all of the albums, and all of the songs on the albums, sounded exactly the same. There was no depth to it, and there still isn’t. Is it fun? Sure. Is it energetic? Hell yes. Fast? Yup. Heavy? At times. But even after acknowledging all of this merit, I still am left with no reason why I would listen to an album like this over and over again. See Municipal Waste live? Probably. Buy this album and spin it over and over again? Probably not. It’s basically just a genre thing to me (shrugs).


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76. Warbringer – Waking Into Nightmares
My first significant exposure to this band came in late 2009 when I saw them live opening for Vader. I did expect to like Warbringer, but what I didn’t expect was to come out of the pit grinning from ear to ear, shouting “those guys are awesome!” Nevertheless, that’s what happened. However, a few weeks afterward, I listened to this album a couple of times, and my reaction was, “why did I like these guys, again?” I don’t know what it is, but I think that Warbringer’s primary draw is their live show, and not their album performance. This isn’t a total shock when it comes to music like this – I mean, it’s thrash. It’s high energy stuff. When you see the band up there doing it, it’s just bound to be more fun (in this case, a hell of a lot more). Now, this isn’t to say that this album is lousy, because on a technical level, there is basically nothing wrong with it at all – it just didn’t appeal to me anywhere near as much as Warbringer’s live performance did. Should you buy this album? I would say if you are a fan of the band, or a big fan of modern thrash, then absolutely. If you’re not sure, then go see Warbringer live, and then make your decision. Either way, they are a good band with a solid work ethic. They make good music, are really entertaining, and deserve some praise (and a little of your hard-earned cash, whether it’s from buying a ticket to their show, or this album).


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75. Tombs – Winter Hours
This is the second album for Brooklyn’s sludge metal outfit Tombs, and their debut on their new label Relapse, and many critics are calling it a triumph for them. While I can definitely detect a new level of increased density and richness in their sound here, this album still has some of the same qualities that their previous album had that prevent me from becoming even more interested – primarily, that while there is a whole lot going on here sonically, it just doesn’t create the same cohesive wall of sound that experts in this genre such as Pelican can create. This album is just not as compelling as some other sludge metal is, at least to me. Unlike Pelican, Tombs uses vocals frequently in their work, and while there is nothing overtly wrong with the vocals, in my opinion they don’t add much either. At the end of the day, this is a very thick, dense slab of sludge metal that hardcore fans of the genre might appreciate, but as far as drawing me in and making me want to hear more, it just didn’t do that much for me.


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74. Dethklok – Dethklok: The Dethalbum II
Many folks refer to Dethklok as a “fake” band – even those that jokingly and / or lovingly refer to them as their favorite “fake” band. However, Dethklok are really anything but fake. Just ask anybody who has seen them live – they are very real, and also very talented. Guitarist / vocalist Brendon Small is actually close to being a guitar prodigy, and drummer Gene Hoglan – well, let’s just say we don’t even need to point out his chops. This album is yet another collection of full-length tunes, sections of which were an integral part of episodes of the show Metalocalypse. It bears mentioning here that the aforementioned show is a comedy, and as such, the lyrics in these songs are of course funny and tongue-in-cheek – but the music is quite serious. True, some very common musical techniques are showcased here – but they are techniques which have been used by some of the very best musicians in the metal world, so in a sense the music becomes as much of an homage to metal as it is a parody of some of metal’s sillier aspects. Both the show, and the music behind the show, are smartly written and well-executed, which is a direct reason for the success of both Metalocalypse as a show, and Dethklok as a very “real” band.


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73. Múm – Sing Along to Songs You Don’t Know
This album is officially the furthest thing from metal in this list, and by a pretty wide margin. This group sits squarely in the Indie Pop genre, composed of a bunch of girls and guys from Iceland. I originally got into them because their earlier sound was very electronic, but it really isn’t anymore. The group is still very experimental, though, making many of their musical noises in highly interesting ways, such as with rarely-used (and sometimes even homemade) instruments, employing beautiful and haunting multi-part harmonies on vocals, and the like. This is as decent an effort as I have heard from this band, although as I say it was the electronic-tinged sound of their earlier career that I loved most. Still, if you’re looking for something entirely different, possibly in the vein of A Silver Mt. Zion meets Björk, then give this a shot.


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72. Les Claypool – Of Fungi and Foe
I read somewhere that this latest album from Les Claypool – his second solo album to date – is primarily a collection of songs written for a couple of different video games. His previous solo album includes the theme song from the highly irregular TV show “Robot Chicken” – and of course, we all know that Les also wrote the theme song from “South Park”. This just goes to prove that whatever Mr. Claypool’s reason for writing a song, the outcome is still likely to be highly eclectic and often just plain weird. Anyone who knows the history of Primus (and its many offshoots) knows this – but there is something else that these folks also know. They know that whatever the reason for the song – it is certainly going to be weird, but it is also probably going to be very well-executed. This album is no exception. Some of these songs are downright ridiculous in their content (no surprise whatsoever, considering their source), but they are almost universally just as compelling as they are strange. There’s just something about the odd genius that is Claypool’s music, and whether it’s for Primus, or some band having to do with Frogs or Mackerels or Buckets of Bernie Brains or whatever, I am almost certainly going to like it.


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71. Goatwhore – Carving Out the Eyes of God
It should come as no surprise to a neophyte that, with a name like Goatwhore, this band is primarily a black metal outfit. However, there is also a decidedly death / thrash aspect to their sound as well. As described in the old Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups commercials – two great tastes that taste great together. However, some fundamentalist fans have used this as evidence that the band has “sold out”. Clearly, the band has consciously progressed in the direction of still having black metal roots, but with cleaner production and more prominent riffs than are typically found on most “pure” black metal albums. All I know is that this formula works for me, and I’m honestly surprised that I’m not more of a fan of this band than I am – this album may finally change all that. There are times when I’m honestly reminded of Celtic Frost when I listen to this album, so I would say that the band’s roots are still where they are “supposed” to be – and then there are times when I’m reminded of earlier Sepultura, for example, and to me this is a good thing. Naysayers can rant all they want – Goatwhore is a very good band whose skills are steadily improving, whose fan base is steadily growing, and whose star is definitely on the rise.


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70. Saviours – Accelerated Living
When people ask me what this band sounds like (which they often do, because they tour like crazy and have been attached to quite a few good shows which have come through the area where I live), I usually find myself at a bit of a loss. The funny part is, this band is not complicated at all – they are simply high energy and fun – it’s just putting it into words that’s sometimes difficult. Basically, Saviours is a stoner / doom band, but their tempo is almost like a punk band’s would be (and the punk comparisons don’t end there, either). Think “High on Fire”, but lighter and maybe a bit faster overall. There is also a bit of thrashiness present from time to time, primarily in some of the drum beats. Saviours is as fun as D.R.I., but with thicker riffs like Black Sabbath – does that make any sense? Probably not, but if you listen to them you might understand what I mean. At any rate, this album is every bit as good as their previous work – in fact, it’s probably their best album to date. This is a good, solid piece of upbeat stoner metal with just enough punk and thrash to keep the mood light – and the pace is steady and quick.

mankvill
01-30-2010, 04:01 PM
I just got the Saviours album a couple days ago. :wow:

It's so awesome!

mankvill
01-30-2010, 04:46 PM
also: you know about mum? :lol:

Natrlhi
01-30-2010, 08:24 PM
also: you know about mum? :lol:

Hellz yeah - I was way into their older stuff, where they had those two twin sisters as vocalists (I forget their names, but they were very..."Icelandic" as I remember). That stuff was way more trippy and electronic than their current stuff, which is very experimental and somewhat more "natural" sounding (read: less technology-based), but it's still very eclectic stuff. Entertaining as hell when I'm in the right mood. Would love to see them live one day.

JRA
01-30-2010, 09:12 PM
The problem for me is, I was around when Kreator first came out, and the new stuff is nothing like that. Just like the Carcass conversations we've had in the past, I'm stuck thinking that the "old" sound is the way they "should" sound. It certainly wasn't a BAD album - truth be told, I liked almost everything on my list to some degree.

I kind of agree here. Mille is almost like Tom Araya in his vocal style has gotten a little annoying with the yelling. It would be one thing if he's done that his whole career, but he didn't. He started out with this terrifying nazi (:eyes:) growl and now...meh.

ADD
01-31-2010, 12:06 PM
70. Saviours – Accelerated Living
When people ask me what this band sounds like (which they often do, because they tour like crazy and have been attached to quite a few good shows which have come through the area where I live), I usually find myself at a bit of a loss. The funny part is, this band is not complicated at all – they are simply high energy and fun – it’s just putting it into words that’s sometimes difficult. Basically, Saviours is a stoner / doom band, but their tempo is almost like a punk band’s would be (and the punk comparisons don’t end there, either). Think “High on Fire”, but lighter and maybe a bit faster overall. There is also a bit of thrashiness present from time to time, primarily in some of the drum beats. Saviours is as fun as D.R.I., but with thicker riffs like Black Sabbath – does that make any sense? Probably not, but if you listen to them you might understand what I mean. At any rate, this album is every bit as good as their previous work – in fact, it’s probably their best album to date. This is a good, solid piece of upbeat stoner metal with just enough punk and thrash to keep the mood light – and the pace is steady and quick.

I think with this one they shedded a lot of High on Fire-lite stuff (comes up mainly in the last 2 songs) in favor of a thrash-meets-NWOBHM thing, lots of Tank and early Tygers of Pan Tang riffs here. The mood is kinda upbeat and light I guess in certain parts ("FGT"), but the vibe and visuals I get in general are dark and mysterious, evoking the primal metal spirit of music like Angel Witch, Mercyful Fate, etc. Also "The Rope of Carnal Knowledge" is some of the best Lizzy worship I've heard :fist: Definitely their best album so far, almost put it in my top 10 for the year.

mastodon421
01-31-2010, 01:11 PM
I really hope Goatwhore does blow up they deserve it. Personally I am huge fan of theirs and think they are one of the top extreme-metal acts right now.

xStructualDefect
01-31-2010, 01:57 PM
However, it’s just not the type of sound I just can’t wait to get back to and hear again. Like what I hear? Yup. Compelled to listen again? Not really.


that's how i feel about a good MAJORITY of extreme metal bands. i'll listen to something and i like what i hear, the musicians are talented, i wouldn't mind seeing the band live, but i really have no desire AT ALL to listen to them again.

a lot of times seeing a band changes my mind though. or sometimes my music tastes evolve as in one day i'll listen to a band and find them good but have no desire to listen to them again, but maybe a few months or years later i'll listen to the same band and then i find them amazing and want to listen to them again. that's how i got into a lot of bands.

jhdeity
02-01-2010, 07:15 AM
I really liked the Saviours too. 2009 was definitely the year of sludge.

Natrlhi
02-04-2010, 10:16 PM
Time for another installment of "the list that just won't hurry up and get finished already!" :snivel:


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69. Cattle Decapitation – The Harvest Floor
I love to tell people that the guys in Cattle Decapitation are militant vegans – it confuses the hell out of them. Once you understand, though, that the gore-obsessed artwork and lyrics are about what the band hates (as opposed to what they might otherwise seem to love), the picture of what Cattle Decap are all about becomes amazingly more clear. After understanding this, it is easy to see where all the brutal aggression in their sound comes from. This group does a very good job of infusing sound samples and other goodies into their modern death metal sound tapestry to create some pretty compelling music. They are all truly talented musicians, too. This is a solid, progressive album from this band. Guest appearances by the inimitable vocalist Jarboe, as well as heavy metal electric cellist Jackie Perez Gratz of Giant Squid / Grayceon are a nice bonus.


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68. Between the Buried and Me – The Great Misdirect
This album marks my first real exposure to this band. They are basically a progressive / technical death metal band, but they also manage to fuse some other genres into their sound as well. One of these is deathcore (and the red flag goes up). Now I’ll admit, when these guys are on the prog tip, their music is downright beautiful. In addition, they can really play their instruments well, whether they’re playing in a prog / classical style, or thrashing out hardcore breakdowns a la Whitechapel. I’ll also admit that this combination of sounds is interesting to me, but to be honest, it really doesn’t work that well in my opinion. The transitions between styles are just so drastic, that no amount of technical mastery can keep them from seeming choppy. The changes in tempo and styles are just too abrupt for me, and there’s almost nothing that can be done to avoid this. Between the Buried and Me do it as well as any band probably could, but at the end of the day, this is one of the most talented bands I just can’t seem to love. At the end of the day, though, I do have to give this album some credit for the beautiful portions of it, because as I’ve said, when BTBAM is in this mode, their music is incredible.


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67. Cable – The Failed Convict
I had wanted to check this band out for a while, since they are – or have been – on one of my favorite labels (Hydra Head), and since they seem to get quite a bit of love from both critics and fellow musicians alike. I wasn’t sure what to expect on my first listen, so I just tried to keep my mind open. Whatever I was expecting, Cable was not it. In fact, it’s rather difficult to describe what they sound like, except to say that they are definitely a metal band, yet something about their sound seems more like grunge or rock, or…just, something else. I would say that there is definitely some sludge in there somewhere as well. The vocals are often harsh and distorted, but always still very intelligible. The lyrics almost seem to be in a story-telling mode much of the time. The music is heavy and dense, yet not like post-metal or drone at all. Confused yet? Don’t be. This is good stuff, it’s just hard to describe it. Better to just listen and enjoy – and enjoyable this album is. It has sucked me in and kept my attention for many repeated listens.


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66. Brutal Truth – Evolution Through Revolution
Reunions seem to be all the rage these days (Pestilence, Atheist, Asphyx, Brutal Truth, Coalesce, Cynic), and this is one of the reunions I was most excited to hear about. Having said this, there are two main things I noticed about this album. First, Brutal Truth is definitely back with a vengeance! Good LORD, is this album fast and heavy (but did anyone ever really expect anything less?). Second, I noticed that some of the experimentalism of some of BT’s best albums – such as the sound bites and ambient “filler” stuff that was present on “Need to Control” – seems to be missing. What this means to me is that, while I would definitely call this a “very good” BT album, I might hesitate to call it a “great” one. There’s just something about the overall feel of BT’s best work that isn’t here, but then if I weren’t already a fan I probably wouldn’t have even noticed. As I said, this album is absolutely brutal and crushing, and most fans will not be disappointed in the least. These guys are insane.


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65. Big Business – Mind the Drift
Since their previous album, Big Business may have grown from a duo to a trio by virtue of adding touring guitarist Toshi Kasai as a permanent member, but aside from splitting the paychecks three ways, not much else has changed. In other words, the signature vocals of Jared Warren and extremely talented drumming of Coady Willis are still front and center. The song structures are similar, album production high, lyrical topics in the same vein, etc. – which is not to say that Big Business has not grown since their previous release – only that the changes are not blindingly obvious, and all the elements which made their previous release excellent are still here. While their sludgy, stoner-y, Seattle-tinged sound may not be for everyone, many a fan does “get it”, and the talent on display here is undeniable. This is another very good BB album.


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64. Obscura – Cosmogenesis
For those who are not aware, Obscura is a technical death metal band currently signed to Relapse Records. Those who know me, know that I have a pet peeve when it comes to technical death metal bands. In my book, technical for the sake of technical or fast for the sake of fast just doesn’t cut it (refer to my review of Psyopus’s “Odd Senses”, much further back on this list). Thankfully, Obscura does not seem to fit into either of those categories. Are they technically accurate? Yes, very. Are they fast? Absolutely. However, the question I like to ask is, “does their music have a sense of flow – is it unique / memorable – does it make me feel something?”. (OK, maybe that’s three questions.) The answer is “yes” to all three. There is a definite flow to this music, and it is catchy. It draws me in, and makes me want to come back for more. In short, it doesn’t just impress me, it also entertains me. This album is recommended for all those who are still yearning for that next release from Necrophagist that never seems to come soon enough (and if this doesn’t quite fill that void, check my review for Gorod’s album further up this list…).


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63. The Mars Volta – Octahedron
After listening to “De-Loused in the Comatorium”, I was hooked on The Mars Volta for life. Every release of theirs since then has been just a little bit different from the last, and “Octahedron” is no exception. The same talent which is always on display in full effect with this band, is still present here. Certain tracks such as “Teflon”, “Halo of Nembutals” and “Cotopaxi” are intense, memorable, highly entertaining and even addictive. The difference, however, with this album is that many of the tracks other than those mentioned are much more melodic and slowly paced than much of the band’s other material. Some fans may welcome this change with open arms and really embrace it, some may be indifferent, and others may not appreciate it at all. Ultimately, I am in one of the two latter categories, but I still haven’t decided which. The album is still a very good entry in The Mars Volta’s canon regardless, but it certainly won’t go down in history as my favorite. Would I recommend it? Yes. Would I choose it over other albums when my “Mars Volta Jones” kicks in? Maybe not (at least not consistently).


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62. 65daysofstatic – Escape from New York (Live)
Technically, this is not a metal album (or band) – but then not all albums and / or bands on my list are. It’s more electronic than anything else, but it is fairly heavy and it is definitely edgy. 65daysofstatic (or “65dos”, or just “65”, as some fans call them) are a talented group of musicians who make some very post-rock sounding electronic music (and by the way, there is plenty of live instrumentation here, too – including electric guitars and a full drum kit). This is a live album, and as such, has a few typical pros and cons associated with it. Among the pros, it is somewhat of a “best of” compilation, because it’s a recording of a single live set, where the band picked the tracks primarily to please their fans. Also, because the music is largely electronic, the sound quality is pretty decent – plus, there is some remixing going on here as well, which 65 is known to do with their material when playing live. Among the cons are that, since the album is live, the sound quality – while good – is not as good as it would be on a studio album, and with songs as intricate as 65 makes, the higher the fidelity, the better. Also, the crowd reactions are either mixed very low, or weren’t really there the night this album was recorded. For example, the hairs on my arms still stand up when I listen to Daft Punk’s “Alive 2007”, because the crowd is absolutely crazy on that album. Here, not so much. At any rate, this is still a very good album by an extremely talented, interesting and different band. Very highly recommended.


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61. Darkest Hour – The Eternal Return
My first exposure to this band came at last year’s Summer Slaughter tour, and they were the surprise of the day for me to be sure. My first thought at the time was that these guys sound a lot like Unearth, and I would have to say that the comment still holds (and it’s a compliment, by the way). Like Unearth, Darkest Hour is a metalcore band that “gets” metal. They play their instruments extremely well. They throw down awesome solos left and right. They jam their songs full of catchy riffs that work, and their energy is almost off the charts. In short, this is a highly talented and entertaining band. I haven’t listened to enough of their back catalog to know if this album is any better or worse than their other material, but in a way, that’s really not the point of this review anyway. The review is about “The Eternal Return”, an album which has drawn me in for hours of repeated listening at a time, by virtue of its high energy, catchiness, and most of all, the fact that it virtually impossible not to bang my head while listening to it. Nice.


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60. The Crystal Method – Divided By Night
Unfortunately, it would seem that TCM has progressed in the direction of being more like their English counterparts, The Chemical Brothers – who create effective little electronic-tinged pop songs by both remixing and / or co-writing songs with popular artists – rather than to continue on the trail that they’d blazed for themselves on their seminal debut “Vegas” – and more’s the pity. While “Vegas” was a tripped-out, psychedelic space adventure for the mind with infectious beats and grooves laden all over it, every TCM album since then seems to have been progressively more pop-oriented. This isn’t to say that TCM is now a pop outfit – they’re not. It’s just to say that their love of collaboration with pop artists has led them down a path which some fans (including this one) prefer less than their original material. The album still has a few spacey-sounding highlights which harken back to the “Vegas” days – for example, the instrumental “Smile”, the phenomenal best of show “Double Down Under” (which ironically has a Vegas-themed title), and to some extent the infectious and trippy “Slipstream”. A few of the modern pop collaborations are also good, such as the catchy “Drown in the Now” track with Matisyahu, but ultimately this album struck me as a little of a mish-mash between old-style elements which killed in the past, and new ones which are fairly effective, but certainly not unique.

mankvill
02-04-2010, 10:27 PM
I love how you're in the 60's of your list, yet your reviews are completely positive.

Was a great year for music, eh? :fist:

Natrlhi
02-04-2010, 10:30 PM
I love how you're in the 60's of your list, yet your reviews are completely positive.

Was a great year for music, eh? :fist:

Good observation. I had a handful of negative reviews in the very bottom of the list - but yeah, they're all basically good from here, and getting better... :D

powerslave_85
02-04-2010, 10:43 PM
I disagree with Darkest Hour being a metalcore band. They're just straight up metal, IMO.

Fires Of Sedition
02-04-2010, 11:33 PM
I disagree with Darkest Hour being a metalcore band. They're just straight up metal, IMO.

I agree gree with you. They're too fun to listen to to be metalcore. (That's a lot of "to's")

Natrlhi
02-05-2010, 06:48 AM
I agree gree with you. They're too fun to listen to to be metalcore. (That's a lot of "to's")

Well, you guys are both right, but they are technically classified as a metalcore band almost everywhere I've read about them, and so is Unearth. You and I may not agree with it, but that's what "they" say. My whole point, though, is exactly what you guys are talking about. They are a rockin' good band, no matter what genre the so-called experts decide they should be in.

BTW, I've read a lot of references that place Mastodon as a metalcore band, too. Lolwut? I say "whatever". :rolleyes:

idrinkwine732
02-05-2010, 06:55 AM
Metalcore bands can be good, just 90% of them are shit.

Natrlhi
02-05-2010, 07:21 AM
Metalcore bands can be good, just 90% of them are shit.
:lol: Pretty much.


BTW, stay tuned for another batch of updates soon. The shit's starting to get good!

mankvill
02-05-2010, 11:54 AM
Metalcore bands can be good, just 90% of them are shit.

Melodic metalcore bands suck complete huge dicks.

Natrlhi
02-05-2010, 12:51 PM
Melodic metalcore bands suck complete huge dicks....as opposed to "just the head", which is what standard-issue metalcore bands like KSE, Trivium, ATR and Shadows Fall do. :D

powerslave_85
02-05-2010, 12:53 PM
I'd say Unearth fits the label. Lots more breakdowns.

xStructualDefect
02-05-2010, 12:55 PM
Metalcore bands can be good, just 90% of them are shit.

+1

Fires Of Sedition
02-06-2010, 12:24 AM
Well, you guys are both right, but they are technically classified as a metalcore band almost everywhere I've read about them, and so is Unearth. You and I may not agree with it, but that's what "they" say. My whole point, though, is exactly what you guys are talking about. They are a rockin' good band, no matter what genre the so-called experts decide they should be in.

BTW, I've read a lot of references that place Mastodon as a metalcore band, too. Lolwut? I say "whatever". :rolleyes:

Mastodon is metalcore? What the balls? The experts don't know shit.

Natrlhi
02-07-2010, 10:15 PM
Time for another update, kids. Sorry this is taking so fucking long...family life and all. Anyway...


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59. Jesu – Opiate Sun (EP)
While Jesu’s other 2009 release (the fifty-minute, single track LP “Infinity”) was a bit esoteric for my taste, this EP is a return to the familiar trippy, melodic shoegaze formula which I’ve grown to really enjoy from this band. I don’t know what it is about the plodding, fuzzy guitars and eerie, oddly-harmonized vocals that Jesu normally employs, but I just can’t seem to get enough of this signature sound. I’m not always in the mood for music like this, but when I am, Jesu is the only thing that will hit the spot. This album doesn’t really break any new ground, but within its four tracks, which average around six or seven minutes apiece, the “day in, day out”, plain vanilla Jesu fan will find himself or herself in warm, familiar and inviting territory.


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58. Dying Fetus – Descend into Depravity
Eight songs? Check. Track duration ranging from three to five minutes? Check. Total album length around thirty-five minutes? Check. Some of the most awesome death growls in the business? Check. Blistering fast blast beats? Check. Riffs galore, each one heavier than the heaviest matter in the universe? Check. Yup, this is a Dying Fetus album – and even though it stays tightly within the specs of every other album Dying Fetus have ever done, it is still somehow one of their best albums. It always amazes me how this band manages to follow almost the exact same formula for every album, yet they just seem to get better and better with each one. This much is certain: “Descend Into Depravity” is not for the weak of heart – you’d better be looking for brutal before you spin this, or you’ll either be repulsed or just plain scared shitless as you hear the hellacious opening death growl on “Your Treachery Will Die with You.” This album should be a delight to DF fans, and is a perfectly good starting point for DF novices.


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57. Stinking Lizaveta – Sacrifice and Bliss
For those who don’t know them yet, Stinking Lizaveta is an instrumental stoner / doom / power trio from Philadelphia consisting of a female drummer and two brothers who play guitar and upright electric bass (that is not a typo). Their music is heavy and sludgy, but the pace is often very lively and upbeat. There are thick, crunchy riffs all over the place, fused with elements of various types of jazz and Eastern stylings. It’s almost entirely impossible to listen to this music and become bored, and it’s even more impossible to listen to it and not bang your head. It’s just infectious – it gets under your skin and makes you want to move something, whether it’s your hands, feet, head or all of the above. I’ve never seen this band live, but they are at the top of my list to do so, because I’m quite sure they are fantastic. Compared to the rest of their catalog (which consists of about six albums total, over the band’s ten-plus year existence), “Sacrifice and Bliss” is certainly one of the best. For as simple a musical formula as Stinking Lizaveta brings to the table, it’s surprising that a group like this is so rare, but I’m just glad I know about them.


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56. BraveYoung – Bloom (EP)
This is the debut album from this North Carolina post-metal / post-rock band under its current moniker, BraveYoung. This same group of musicians used to call themselves “Giant” (not to be confused with the Iowa / Illinois / Minnesota band “Giants” on Cavity Records). Even though they have changed their name, the band has not changed by leaps and bounds sonically since Giant’s 2006 album “Song”, which is also a post-metal / post-rock album. Perhaps one ostensible difference is that BraveYoung does not use vocals on this album, whereas Giant did on “Song”, so perhaps one of the objectives of the new band is to be exclusively instrumental. Either way, the beautiful noise created by this quartet must be heard in order to be fully appreciated. Whereas comparisons of Giant with Isis would not be out of order, comparisons of BraveYoung with Caspian (especially on their latest album, “Tertia”, which is also reviewed elsewhere in this list) would also be appropriate. The overall tone of the music is somewhat less harsh and more melodic and flowing now, but it is still very dense, and most importantly, it is still very good. Recommended for fans of Caspian, Russian Circles and instrumental post metal.


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55. The Bakerton Group – El Rojo
Some folks I know have said that they would like Clutch a whole lot more if it weren’t for the vocals. Well for those that agree with this viewpoint (of which I am not one), this might be exactly what you are looking for – the Bakerton Group is precisely “Clutch, with no vocals”. I do have to say, though, that although I like Neil Fallon’s presence in either group whether he is singing (or shouting, or whatever) or not, I really do like this album both for what it is, and for what it isn’t. In other words, “Clutch, with no vocals” is really not a bad thing at all. It gives the listener a chance to get into the music all that much more, in my opinion, and what many don’t realize is just how good that music really is. It’s just southern-fried funk jam metal at its very best, from the guys who basically invented the sound (or at least the version we know today). El Rojo is a nice, meaty, juicy full slab of funk (you thought I was gonna say ribs, didn’t ya?) – complete with organs and cowbell (and by the way, there actually are a very few vocals thrown in there towards the end, but for the most part, this is a purely instrumental album). Good stuff.


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54. Cannibal Corpse – Evisceration Plague
What would you expect from a Cannibal Corpse album? Heavy death grind? Check. Sick gore-obsessed lyrics? Check. Memorable riffs and solos abound? Check. Released in 2009? Not exactly. What I’m getting at here is that Cannibal Corpse is one of these amazing bands which have managed to stick pretty close to their core sound for over twenty or so years, and make it work for them. I don’t know if there is a market for this sound among the new kids in the metal world, but I do know that fans of old-school death metal will probably eat this up (not literally, you savages – all that dead, rotten tissue is maggot-infected and might make you very sick).


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53. Irepress – Sol Eye Sea I
This band called Irepress is very interesting. They walk equally in the post-rock world of Caspian, This Will Destroy You and Explosions in the Sky, and post-metal bands such as Isis, Pelican and Mouth of the Architect. The latter band is the one they perhaps sound most like, but there is even more to their sound than this. There is a distinctive jazz element that is reminiscent of a band such as IntrOnaut. Having already listed seven of my favorite bands in trying to describe Irepress, you can probably tell that (a) these guys are tough to categorize, and (b) I like them – a lot. This latest album of theirs is every bit as good as 2007’s “Samus Octology” – probably even better. I would have to say that if you like any of the other bands I mentioned, you should probably give this a try. It’s a fantastic album by an up-and-coming new(ish) band.


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52. Diablo Swing Orchestra – Sing-Along Songs for the Damned & Delirious
Where to start with this review? Well first of all, I’ll say that this is definitely one of the most interesting albums I’ve heard all year. I had some experience with this band going in, and like Estradasphere and other eclectic metal bands of this ilk, I knew for sure that the musicianship would be nothing short of shockingly good. Expectations fulfilled. What I didn’t expect was how seriously compelling the album would be. Expectations surpassed. After the first listen, I was intrigued. After the second listen, I was hooked. DSO is often swing music. It is definitely influenced by jazz. At times, it is definitely metal, but at other times, it isn’t – but of the many influences on display here, perhaps the most impressive thing about this album is how expertly it is all woven together. Some groups who play a broad range of musical styles fail to make it all sound organic – like it belongs on the same album. Somehow, this group manages to excel at a plethora of different styles, and bring it all home in such a way that it is not only passable, but compelling. I recommend this album to metal fans – or otherwise – who are looking for something completely different. It’s seriously good stuff, and a whole lot of fun.


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51. Battlefields – Thresholds of Imbalance
I was looking for some ideas as to how to describe this band’s sound, so I started reading a few reviews online. I saw the words “post-metal”, “sludge” and “doom”. I agree with all of these. I saw band names such as Isis and Neurosis, and again I concur. But I would also throw a few other descriptors into the mix as well – how about “Pink Floyd-ey” (reference track five), and also the oft-quoted term “post rock”? Now let all that settle in for a minute. Sound interesting? Maybe a little confusing? Well, interesting…Battlefields is. Confusing? Not really. The roller coasters of sound are so well-constructed that I really did not notice how many different genres I was being exposed to as I took the ride that is this album. I wasn’t confused or annoyed in the least. The album covers a lot of ground, but Battlefields does it very well. The bottom line is that I enjoyed this album very much, and repeated listens are also very rewarding because I hear more and more each time. This is a very nice piece of work – highly recommended.


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50. Pelican – Ephemeral (EP)
Anyone who read last year’s list knows that I do include EP’s in my list, but I give them special consideration. In my opinion, an EP has to be pretty damn good in order to rank anywhere near the top of this list. Pelican’s “Ephemeral” is pretty damn good. The thing is, there are only three songs on this album, one of which is a cover of Earth’s “Geometry of Murder”. So how could it rank so high? Simply put, the two new songs on this CD are stellar – especially “Embedding the Moss”. In my opinion, this may be one of the best songs Pelican has ever written. It is groovy and catchy as hell, yet also crushing in places. The title track is also very good. This is one of the best EP’s I have heard this year – and it handily accomplishes what might well be its ultimate goal in spades: making me look forward with great expectations to their next full-length release.

mankvill
02-07-2010, 10:23 PM
For some reason, it makes me giddy that you put Dying Fetus above Jesu.

SomewhereInTime72
02-07-2010, 10:30 PM
Fuck yeah, Ephemeral was probably my favorite EP of the year. :horns:

Natrlhi
02-07-2010, 10:31 PM
For some reason, it makes me giddy that you put Dying Fetus above Jesu.

Does that mean you're excited that I'm rating some death / grind / heavy stuff higher than (or at least up there with) some of the post-metal / post-rock / sludge stuff I normally post about?

(...because if so, you're really gonna like some more of the picks higher up my list...)

Natrlhi
02-07-2010, 10:32 PM
Fuck yeah, Ephemeral was probably my favorite EP of the year. :horns:

:party: :rocker: :party: :blaze: :party: :rocker: :party:

ADD
02-07-2010, 10:37 PM
Can't get into the Stinking Liz records I've heard, but I've seen so many positive reviews of their live show that I'd go catch em if I get the chance.

Div
02-07-2010, 11:11 PM
im am sooooo glad i read this and discovered DSO. that shits right up my ally


EDIT: seriously, holy shit this is so cool

Natrlhi
02-08-2010, 07:16 AM
im am sooooo glad i read this and discovered DSO. that shits right up my ally


EDIT: seriously, holy shit this is so cool

They are fucking great, no? Glad you found something new to love. If you like them, you might also want to check out Estradasphere and / or Secret Chiefs 3. :rocker:

Div
02-08-2010, 10:43 AM
They are fucking great, no? Glad you found something new to love. If you like them, you might also want to check out Estradasphere and / or Secret Chiefs 3. :rocker:

will do.

i wish there were more songs akin to the first track, the rest isnt bad tho, reminds me a little of therion.

Natrlhi
02-09-2010, 11:55 AM
Hey, kids. Another update is almost ready - it should be up in a few hours. In the meantime, I thought I would throw a teaser out there and give you a foreshadowing of one more thing I'm going to do when this list is fully posted. I got this idea because I wanted to highlight some of the best albums in the multitude of various sub-genres that I enjoy.

When this list is complete, I will fill in the winners for the following categories:

Best EP
Best Compilation Album
Best Live Album
Best Debut Album
Best Thrash Album
Best Death Metal Album
Best Black Metal Album
Best Grindcore Album
Best Post-Metal Album
Best Post-Rock Album
Best Sludge Metal Album
Best Doom Metal Album
Best Non-Metal Album
Best Album Packaging
Best Album Cover Art

Anybody care to make any predictions? How about your own personal preferences?

DethMaiden
02-09-2010, 01:02 PM
Best EP- Necromance - Never Look Back (only one I heard ;))
Best Compilation Album- Various Artists - Dark Was the Night (only one I heard again, inconsistent but has a few gems)
Best Live Album - didn't hear any
Best Debut Album - Struck By Lightning - Serpents/Shrinebuilder - Shrinebuilder (tie)
Best Thrash Album - Megadeth - Endgame
Best Death Metal Album - Nile - Those Whom the Gods Detest
Best Black Metal Album - Cobalt - Gin, but I loved four others too.
Best Grindcore Album - didn't hear any
Best Post-Metal Album - Isis - Wavering Radiant
Best Post-Rock Album - Mono - Hymn to the Immortal Wind
Best Sludge Metal Album - too tough to pin down a definition, maybe Baroness
Best Doom Metal Album - My Dying Bride - For Lies I Sire
Best Non-Metal Album - St. Vincent - Actor with no competition for miles
Best Album Packaging - Clutch - Strange Cousins from the West
Best Album Cover Art - Amesoeurs - Amesoeurs


I dunno about yours, but here's mine I guess.

Natrlhi
02-09-2010, 01:38 PM
Best EP- Necromance - Never Look Back (only one I heard ;))
Best Compilation Album- Various Artists - Dark Was the Night (only one I heard again, inconsistent but has a few gems)
Best Live Album - didn't hear any
Best Debut Album - Struck By Lightning - Serpents/Shrinebuilder - Shrinebuilder (tie)
Best Thrash Album - Megadeth - Endgame
Best Death Metal Album - Nile - Those Whom the Gods Detest
Best Black Metal Album - Cobalt - Gin, but I loved four others too.
Best Grindcore Album - didn't hear any
Best Post-Metal Album - Isis - Wavering Radiant
Best Post-Rock Album - Mono - Hymn to the Immortal Wind
Best Sludge Metal Album - too tough to pin down a definition, maybe Baroness
Best Doom Metal Album - My Dying Bride - For Lies I Sire
Best Non-Metal Album - St. Vincent - Actor with no competition for miles
Best Album Packaging - Clutch - Strange Cousins from the West
Best Album Cover Art - Amesoeurs - Amesoeurs


I dunno about yours, but here's mine I guess.

Three of those (at least) are dead on balls with my list. Another three or four were narrowly edged out by something I had rated just a little higher. Nice predictions! :fist:


EDIT: Oh, and

Best Sludge Metal Album - too tough to pin down a definition, maybe Baroness

...that's the way I would see it. ;)

Natrlhi
02-09-2010, 01:53 PM
Time for another update, kids...



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49. 16 – Bridges to Burn
These guys somewhat remind me of Kylesa (who also have an album on this year’s list). They are a sludge / doom / stoner band at heart, but their guitar and drum sound is also very obviously infused with major punk influences. Also in keeping with the punk comparison the vocals on this album are shouted, albeit in a somewhat more drawn-out fashion. The guitar work is very nice here – lots of memorable riffs abound (some of which sound like they could have been modified from an old D.R.I. or Nuclear Assault album). Also, there is a southern rock / metal influence that seems to creep into some of this band’s songs from time to time, which is a little bit reminiscent of bands such as Clutch, Kyuss or Karma to Burn. Overall, this is a pretty solid album with some very memorable moments. Highly recommended for all stoner / doom fans.


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48. Converge – Axe to Fall
I’ve seen Converge twice live – both times headlining a show that included some other band(s) that I wanted to see more than Converge. However, there is one thing that became very clear to me the first time I saw them – these guys are relentless. I mean, you can hear it on their albums, so it’s really no secret, but when you see them live, there is just no doubt about it. For this, I give Converge a lot of credit. They have a work ethic that is just insane – and, they write some pretty extreme music to go along with their insane work ethic. Some folks like it, and some don’t – and my guess is, that’s just fine with Converge. What I can say for sure is that this album is definitely one of their best so far. The songs are original and different, and yes – interesting. Time signatures are twisted around regularly, and both tone and tempo are switched up constantly. Every once in a while, Converge settles into a really sweet riff that makes you just want to bang your head for a while, but rest assured – they won’t stay there for long. Converge is here to keep the intensity turned up to eleven, and this album is like a pit bull that has a hold of an enemy by the throat – it may pause to rest just for a second, but that’s only because it is gaining strength so it can finish you off in a very violent way.


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47. Voivod – Infini
Much like Metallica’s release last year and Slayer’s this year, it was with guarded optimism that I awaited this year’s release from these prog-thrash veterans, in part because all three bands had released some sub-par material in recent years. Also like Metallica and Slayer, what happened when I first listened to this album was that I was pretty pleasantly surprised. Unlike the previous two examples, this album had a bit more of an interesting back story around it, in that the guitar parts on the album had actually been recorded by the late Denis D'Amour (Piggy) in 2004 prior to his death. This means that the band had one last chance, if you will, to try and capture the original sound which put them on the map in the first place, and I think the surviving members took this challenge very seriously. The lyrical themes are somewhat political and scientific, in keeping with Voivod’s history (although a few of them are a bit cheesy, but then again, that’s not 100% new territory for Voivod either), but what is really nostalgic is how the guitars and vocals sound so similar to Voivod’s work from the late 80’s / early 90’s (allowing, of course, for the fact that vocalist Denis Bélanger is now twenty years older). There are quite a few real gems on this album, for example: “From the Cave”, “Global Warning” and “Treasure Chase” – and so, if this album does indeed prove to be Voivod’s swansong as many rumors have indicated, it will mean that this legendary band will be going out on a fairly high note. This is pretty good stuff.


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46. Nachtmystium – Doomsday Derelicts (EP)
Ah, Nachtmystium – the band which released the album that everybody was feeling in spades last year except me (although I did come around, eventually). Well, as if to say (in the immortal words of Glenn Close), “I’m not going to be ignored, Dan!” here they come again, hot on the heels of last year’s acclaimed release, with an EP which cannot be…well…ignored. Now let me just say that each individual song on this album…I love. The only issue I have with the album as a whole is that not all four of the songs really seem to flow all that well from one to another. The album seems to be what in all actuality it probably is: a stopgap release on the way to something bigger. For an EP, this is certainly not the kiss of death (and really, is somewhat expected). So overall, I have to say that I do like this album a great deal, and so I’m thinking that it serves its primary purpose well – to get (or keep) us all interested until the next full-length.


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45. The Accüsed – The Curse of Martha Splatterhead
So, The Accüsed were one of the heaviest, most extreme hardcore punk acts that had ever walked the face of the Earth, back before people started throwing around that word “extreme” like they do today. They put out several insanely awesome albums while I was in high school and college, and then they somewhat just disappeared for about a decade. They resurfaced about five years ago, and put out some new stuff and some re-packaged old stuff, but none of it was really that remarkable. Then I heard that this album was coming out, and I thought, “whatever”. However, being an old fan, I eventually got myself a copy. Holy crap. This album is awesome! This is The Accüsed sounding almost the same as they did when I fell in love with them around twenty years ago! That’s even more amazing at this time in history, because nobody really makes music like this anymore. At any rate, I was very pleasantly surprised with how good this album is. Recommended for fans of The Accüsed, or anyone else who wants to know what real “splattercore”, skate-thrash-hardcore-punk music should sound like. Martha would be proud.


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44. Slayer – World Painted Blood
For those of you who were wondering where Slayer would end up on this year’s list, here we are – the cat is now out of the bag. Personally, I think “in the middle” is where this album belongs, and in short, that’s because this is a very decent album with some memorable highlights, but it isn’t quite solid enough to be ranked much higher than this. To begin with, I did not expect much from this album, in part because 2006’s “Christ Illusion” fell somewhat short of what this legendary band should be able to accomplish. However, this album is definitely an improvement – and by a significant margin. Tracks such as “Hate Worldwide”, “Psychopathy Red” and the title track are blistering beasts, and they seem to harken back to the thrashy, speed-metal sound of classic Slayer albums such as “Reign in Blood” or “South of Heaven”. Other tracks such as “Human Strain” and the abysmal “Americon” seem to be either experiments gone wrong, or simply phoned-in filler that just didn’t work. At the end of the day, though, my opinion is that this album’s highlights definitely outweigh its shortcomings, so I would definitely recommend this album to either a Slayer fan or a newcomer looking to explore modern thrash. For the neophyte looking to explore classic thrash, though, I would refer them to Slayer pre-1994.


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43. Gifts from Enola – From Fathoms
I finally had a chance to see this band live last year when they were on tour with Akron’s own post-rock outfit If These Trees Could Talk, who headlined the show we saw – even though it was Gifts from Enola’s tour – because it was in front of their hometown crowd. I thought this was a real class move on the part of Gifts, and I also had a chance to meet several members of the band, which cemented that theory right away. Their guitar player and founder Andrew Barnes was personable and well-spoken, and seemed genuinely happy to talk to a couple of the band’s fans, and he spoke enthusiastically about the album, their music, the band’s creative process, and the like. The passion that Andrew and his band mates have for their art really shows through on this, the band’s second full-length album. Tracks such as “Benthos” and “Trieste” are epic and sprawling, as many post-rock songs are, and then there are songs such as “Weightless Thought”, which break from the classic post-rock formula a bit and just thrash out for a while. Overall, this album is a very fine effort, and it’s definitely Gifts from Enola’s finest work yet. Recommended.


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42. Mumakil – Behold the Failure
If there were a special award for cramming as many songs / riffs onto as short an album as possible, Mumakil would win that award this year. With 27 songs jammed into just 35 minutes, this sophomore release by this fledgling grindcore band is an all-out aural assault that is not for the timid. Be warned – your brain will be brutalized. This type of album is not for everyone, but if you are looking for something that’s fast, intense and brutal, you need look no further. This is something you might want to listen to if you’re a MMA fighter getting ready to go into the octagon. The vocals are better than those on Brutal Truth’s new album, and the riffs are more clear and audible as well. This is how grindcore is done, kiddies. Highly recommended.


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41. Hail of Bullets – Warsaw Rising (EP)
It may be an EP, but this album is a solid release for the band Hail of Bullets for one very simple reason – it delivers nearly a half-hour of brutally heavy goodness. The first three tracks are new, and all three are incredible. The last three tracks are several fan favorites, performed live. Both the studio tracks and the live tracks are extremely well-produced, which is great for heavy music like this. The bottom end is thick and crunchy, and the vocals are brutal. This EP makes two things clear to this reviewer – that (1) Hail of Bullets should release their next full-length as soon as possible (because it looks like it’s going to be very good!), and (2) they should tour behind it with the recording devices rolling, and maybe even put out a live album or DVD (both?). It may seem early for those plans to be on the agenda for this band, as their previous full-length album was also their debut, but these metal demons (especially Martin van Drunen) have already been around long enough in other bands, that they’re good enough right now to make a move like this.


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40. Propagandhi – Supporting Caste
In an attempt to describe Propagandhi’s sound in the past, I have found myself using metaphors such as, “think Sum 41, but hyper-intelligent, with much more political lyrics, and way more mad musicianship skills.” However, even such well-intentioned descriptions never seemed to fit quite right, and I’ve since figured out why. Starting with Sum 41 as a point of comparison is really the problem – not that the vocals and drums and such aren’t similar, but it’s the tone that’s completely different. Any way you slice it, Propagandhi is actually quite serious music, and Sum 41 never is. That’s what makes Propagandhi so interesting to me – the musical style alone doesn’t seem all that serious, but the message behind the music is – and you can hear it in Chris Hannah’s voice, which seems to be straining against some sort of invisible device designed to keep him silent. Propagandhi would be anything but, however – they have issues to discuss with you, and they deliver their message in one of the most interesting, compelling ways ever devised. Their music is fast, upbeat, and catchy as hell – and if you appreciate good music, you’ll almost certainly want to listen. Now they’ve got you – and though you may have come to the party just to have a good time, you may just pause to think about some things before it’s all said and done.

Wizzbang11
02-09-2010, 02:01 PM
MUMAKIL! NICE!

mankvill
02-09-2010, 02:08 PM
Totally forgot about that Hail of Bullets EP.

ADD
02-09-2010, 03:04 PM
Voivod made by far the best album of the "bands that already had their day" that put stuff out last year. Hope Piggy's spirit gets reincarnated soon :light:

Fires Of Sedition
02-10-2010, 12:00 AM
They are fucking great, no? Glad you found something new to love. If you like them, you might also want to check out Estradasphere and / or Secret Chiefs 3. :rocker:

My girlfriend's uncle is in love with Secret Chiefs 3 and Mr. Bungle and weird stuff like that. I bought him SC3's DVD for Christmas and I thought he was going to kiss me.

mastodon421
02-10-2010, 08:37 AM
Loving the list so far Nat. I share your sentiments about Converge though Axe To Fall was in my Top 20 for the year. I hope Converge comes to MA soon I need to see them live.

Natrlhi
02-10-2010, 10:18 AM
...I thought he was going to kiss me.A "fella" can always dream, can't he? ;)

Natrlhi
02-10-2010, 10:31 AM
MUMAKIL! NICE!
Yeah it is! In fact, I'll let one of the cats out of the bag now - that's the winner for Best Grindcore Album. :rocker: They even kicked Brutal Truth's ass this year.

Voivod made by far the best album of the "bands that already had their day" that put stuff out last year. Hope Piggy's spirit gets reincarnated soon :light:
:agree: :light:

Totally forgot about that Hail of Bullets EP.
Yeah...it's tits, dude. ( . ) ( . )

Loving the list so far Nat. I share your sentiments about Converge though Axe To Fall was in my Top 20 for the year. I hope Converge comes to MA soon I need to see them live.Thanks! Yeah, I think that when they get away from the songs where Nate sounds like he's a barking dog and into the more developed tunes with excellent riffs, it's really hard to beat these guys for pure energy of performance and straight up kicking your ass (musically speaking). :D

smearCampaign
02-12-2010, 03:07 PM
My girlfriend's uncle is in love with Secret Chiefs 3 and Mr. Bungle and weird stuff like that.

Try walking into a tent on top of a goddamn mountain in Arkansas at 3 in the morning with a head full of acid with Secret Chiefs 3 on stage shredding away on their guitars wearing their hooded robe things. You can file that under Weird Stuff from Summer of '09. Weird and also fucking awesome. :rocker:

ADD
02-12-2010, 09:58 PM
Try walking into a tent on top of a goddamn mountain in Arkansas at 3 in the morning with a head full of acid with Secret Chiefs 3 on stage shredding away on their guitars wearing their hooded robe things. You can file that under Weird Stuff from Summer of '09. Weird and also fucking awesome. :rocker:

Sounds like my kinda party :party:

idrinkwine732
02-13-2010, 10:12 PM
What are the odds this gets done by 2011?

jhdeity
02-15-2010, 10:51 AM
Try walking into a tent on top of a goddamn mountain in Arkansas at 3 in the morning with a head full of acid with Secret Chiefs 3 on stage shredding away on their guitars wearing their hooded robe things. You can file that under Weird Stuff from Summer of '09. Weird and also fucking awesome. :rocker:

Nice!

Cool list Nat. I knew I could count on you to come through with some obscure shit worth checking out.

I liked Tony D's recent decade list so much I had to check out Big Business. Pretty damn cool actually. Listening to Hail of Bullets now. Another keeper!

Natrlhi
02-15-2010, 11:12 AM
What are the odds this gets done by 2011?:lol: I totally deserve that. Odds are decent. :D

Nice!

Cool list Nat. I knew I could count on you to come through with some obscure shit worth checking out.

I liked Tony D's recent decade list so much I had to check out Big Business. Pretty damn cool actually. Listening to Hail of Bullets now. Another keeper!Yeah, I didn't like the latest Big Business album as much as Tony did. I preferred "Here Come the Waterworks", but they were both good - no doubt about that.

---

More album reviews coming soon, you fuckers!

idrinkwine732
02-15-2010, 08:46 PM
I'm just messin, I'm just eager to hear some spots...

TonyD
02-15-2010, 09:15 PM
:lol: I totally deserve that. Odds are decent. :D

Yeah, I didn't like the latest Big Business album as much as Tony did. I preferred "Here Come the Waterworks", but they were both good - no doubt about that.



:eek:
There goes the space time continuum.
I think Toshi gives the music a little more depth. The squirrely guitar over heavy bass is like salsa on a meaty taco. Totally awesome.

Natrlhi
02-16-2010, 09:13 AM
I'm just messin, I'm just eager to hear some spots...I'm glad you're interested, and that's the way I took it. ;)

:eek:
There goes the space time continuum.
I think Toshi gives the music a little more depth. The squirrely guitar over heavy bass is like salsa on a meaty taco. Totally awesome.I certainly won't disagree - you make a really good argument. I've not been invested enough in that band to pick favorite albums, really. I just know "Waterworks" was the album that was out when I discovered them (on tour with Tool for "10,000 Days"), and I was really hooked on that sound.

jhdeity
02-16-2010, 09:30 AM
Throw in the to-wel, wait for the sequel...

Really catchy stuff man! I would have never checked out a band named 16 if it wasn't for the almighty Nat. Thanks Dude!

Natrlhi
02-16-2010, 01:38 PM
Throw in the to-wel, wait for the sequel...

Really catchy stuff man! I would have never checked out a band named 16 if it wasn't for the almighty Nat. Thanks Dude!

You're welcome! :D I like them a lot, too. :rocker:

Natrlhi
02-16-2010, 01:53 PM
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39. Pestilence – Resurrection Macabre
I have to be honest – I did not expect much from this album right out of the gates. I mean, just look at this band’s history – one album most everybody loves, a couple that people try (too hard, in my case) to like, and one they all seem to bash like crazy (although I just think it was probably just “before its time”). The band lineup changed a lot – and over a relatively short career – and then the band disappeared for fifteen years. This just doesn’t scream “recipe for success”. Well, all I can say is, I am very pleasantly surprised by this album. The vocals are completely different from anything I’ve ever heard from Pestilence, but they are brutal and awesome. The guitars are blisteringly fast, but in a thrashy way that is more reminiscent of the original band than much of what’s out there today. The riffs are heavy, and many of them are memorable. This may not be another “Consuming Impulse”, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a very solid album. It stands independently, I think, from the rest of the Pestilence canon, but it is actually very, very good.


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38. Skeletonwitch – Breathing the Fire
I mentioned in my review of Slayer’s most recent release that if a newcomer came to me looking for a recommendation in the modern thrash scene, I would probably point him to “World Painted Blood”. While this is not an untrue statement, I would definitely also recommend practically any album by Skeletonwitch, as they are more or less the reigning kings of modern thrash (or at least one of them). This album in particular is a very good example of why Skeletonwitch is the band to beat in the race to be the best / most popular thrash band on the planet. Their riffs are not only catchy and fast, but they are clean, accurate, and most importantly, everywhere. Skeletonwitch is truly a guitar riff lover’s fantasy band come to life. The only way you don’t bang your head to this music is if you are a total poser pretending to be a metal fan, or if your neck has been broken and subsequently immobilized (probably from listening to Skeletonwitch). In the latter case, you will still probably try to bang your head, though – much to your doctor’s dismay.


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37. Disappearer – The Clearing
This is the full-length debut for this post-metal outfit from Massachusetts. Their previous album was a self-titled demo / EP with three tracks which averaged about twelve minutes apiece, and the music was 100% instrumental, heavy, sludgy and atmospheric. This album represents a major evolution in sound for this band, however. They are still post-metal, but just about everything else has changed. There is a definite ring of sludge / doom in the air here now. Also, there are now vocals, which are somewhat reminiscent of Doomriders. The vocals – as well as the rest of the album – are really well-produced by Kurt Ballou (Converge, Torche, Cave-In…). The guitars are less sludgy and much more riffy. The pace has picked up considerably, and so has the edginess of the entire proceedings. It’s as if this band had woken up from sleepwalking, and started on a spirited rampage. In looking for some words to help describe their new sound, I came across an article which referenced Pelican, IntrOnaut and Mouth of the Architect. Those who know me, know that I love all three of those bands. The Pelican reference is hard to put my finger on, but the IntrOnaut thing rings true in the heavy bass which is prevalent on this album. Likewise, the MotA reference makes sense to me in terms of the post-metal atmospherics of Disappearer’s sound here. I also think there are times when these guys sound similar to bands like Cave-In on this album, but at the end of the day you’ll just have to listen and judge for yourself. I will say that this is one of the best post-metal releases of the year, and that’s coming in a pretty good year for that genre. This is an excellent, excellent album – highly recommended.


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36. Struck by Lightning – Serpents
After leaving the post-metal outfit Mouth of the Architect, Greg Lahm joined forces with some other fellow Dayton, OH dwellers to form the punk / metal crossover band Struck by Lightning. This is their debut album, and it immediately leaves an impression on the listener. The post-metal sound that once was such a staple of the music Lahm played is all but gone here, yielding instead to a driving, compelling mix of Doomriders, Cave In, Disfear, These Arms Are Snakes, and any number of other sludge / punk bands that could be compared. Even if this album isn’t necessarily something brand new that no one has ever heard before, it is certainly a step in a different direction for Lahm, and it is well done. It’s powerful stuff, and damned hard to ignore.


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35. The Prodigy – Invaders Must Die!
The Prodigy are back! After the abysmal flop that was 2004’s “Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned”, these founders of edgy techno-meets-metal needed to create something terrific or just hang up their spiked collars and piercings and go home. What The Prodigy have brought to bear with their latest effort is a nice fusion of their debut full-length “Experience”, tinged with the edgy effects they made famous on “Music for the Jilted Generation” and the seminal 1997 album “Fat of the Land”. I would almost have to say that this might be their best work since that album. The old-school beats are there, complete with the bells and chants (delivered once again by Keith Flint and Maxim, who were both absent from AONO) that Prodigy fans have come to love. Then, the best influences of their later work finish it all off quite nicely. Well done, mates!


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34. Hypocrisy – A Taste of Extreme Divinity
Even though they have been around since the early 1990’s, this album is actually the first real exposure I have had to this Swedish death metal band, and more’s the pity I hadn’t listened to them earlier. This is really some good stuff. Due to the above, I really don’t know how this album stacks up to their previous work, but the two things I can say are that all the reviews I see seem to indicate that this is one of their best, and with an album this good, it’s doubtful to me that any of their previous material wasn’t pretty good as well. The first few tracks are very heavy but move at a very brisk pace, with very harsh vocals and thick, crunchy guitar riffs. After that, the album becomes a little more explorative, drifting in and out from Amon Amarth-esque Viking metal, to a touch of black metal a la Immortal, to folk-thrash reminiscent of Ensiferum. Since I just referenced three very good bands in describing this album, I guess one could safely say that this is a very good album. The range of influences is put together nicely, and at the end of the day, it just makes me want to bang my head. This album is highly recommended.


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33. Napalm Death – Time Waits For No Slave
I have to admit that it has been a long while since I listened to any new Napalm Death material. Having said this, I can definitively state that this album sounds nothing like the grindcore of early albums like “Scum” or “From Enslavement to Obliteration”. The classic grindcore sound is basically gone, but in its place is an interesting new “thrash-tastic” version of this legendary band. One thing is sure – this music ain’t fo’ yo’ mama (unless yo’ mama is, say, Karyn Crisis). It is still as brutal as ever, and the speed is still turned up fairly high, too. This is also not modern deathcore (thankfully), but rather the new sound of a bunch of old school veterans. The hardcore influence is still there, and many of the riffs are very compelling – a very solid album. Tracks like “On the Brink of Extinction” demand the listener’s attention, and are sure to get some heads banging. Napalm Death may not be young pups any more, but they still bring it!


http://www.metalkingdom.net/album/img/d25/23974.jpg
32. Asphyx – Death…The Brutal Way
Upon hearing the opening track of this album, I was struck immediately by this one singular thought: “Asphyx is back – with a vengeance!”…and it’s true. This is the band’s first album in almost a decade, and it is a rager. Asphyx has always been heavy, sounding very much like the band which vocalist Martin van Drunen had previously been in – death metal co-founding fathers Pestilence. In fact, aside from slight differences in lyrical themes (war, primarily, on this album– versus death and disease), this album sounds in many ways similar to Pestilence’s seminal album “Consuming Impulse” – and coming from this reviewer, that is a huge compliment. This is true not only because of Mr. van Drunen’s inimitable vocal style, but also in terms of the types of riffs played, the tempo of the songs, and even the tuning of the guitars. To say, however, that this album is merely Pestilence worship would be selling it completely short (and besides, I don’t even know if that is really the case). The album is simply a brutal piece of classic-sounding death metal, which is most welcome in this modern era. There are truly very few bands that make music exactly like this anymore, and I for one am very glad that Asphyx decided to reunite after their touring fun a few years back and release a full album of excellent new material.


http://allmetalresource.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/shrinebuilder_shrinebuilder-300x300.jpg
31. Shrinebuilder – Shrinebuilder
The project called Shrinebuilder was doomed to either supernova excellence or utter failure from its conception. What I mean by this is that it is a collective of heavy music all-stars (Scott “Wino” Weinrich on guitars / vocals, Al Cisneros on bass / vocals, Scott Kelly on guitar / vocals and Dale Crover on drums), and it’s easy to surmise that these guys would either step all over each other with their massive skills, fighting for dominance, or they would settle into a sweet groove and make some truly excellent music. I’m happy to report that it looks like the latter case applies. This album is what it would sound like if Neurosis and High on Fire were to jam together (which basically means it sounds a lot like Black Sabbath, but with harsher vocals), and that’s a very good thing. To be honest, this album is growing on me more every time I listen to it, and given more time, it would probably end up even higher on this list. Highly recommended.


http://www.code7music.com/store/images/dreaming_dead_CD.jpg
30. Dreaming Dead – Within One
If you didn’t know anything at all about this band and you were to hear this album, you might think that this was just simply a very decent thrash / death metal album. Upon further listening, however, if you’re like me, you’d have to admit that the riffs on the album are just a little catchier than your standard plain-vanilla sound. There is also a little bit of black metal mixed in here, just for flavor. Also, you’d probably notice in pretty short order that the vocals, although very harsh, are a bit unique. There are two layers of vocals here, and the primary one is female. Upon further investigation, you’d find out that this album was written and performed by only two people – co-founders Mike Caffell (drums, vocals) and Elizabeth Schall (lead guitar, lead vocals, bass and second guitar on album). The band now includes bassist Juan Ramirez and touring guitarist Laura Christine, but the fact that only two people made such a rich and beautiful album is quite impressive to me – and to be honest, the album is excellent even if you aren’t aware of any of this. The guitars and drums are very well-executed and clean, the production is excellent, the samples and other atmospheric parts add nicely to the overall sound, and basically this album sounds like a whole crew of very talented people worked very hard to put it together. Kudos to Elizabeth and Mike for releasing the second-best debut album of 2009!

mankvill
02-16-2010, 02:15 PM
Woo Skeletontits! And I'm surprised at Pestilence being that far up because most people didn't like it.

:fist:

Natrlhi
02-16-2010, 03:45 PM
I'm surprised at Pestilence being that far up because most people didn't like it.

:fist:
Yeah, me too. I kept trying to push it down the list, but it was just so got damned heavy it just kept popping back upward. ;)

idrinkwine732
02-16-2010, 04:39 PM
Ah ha! Disappearer has another victim.

Natrlhi
02-16-2010, 06:13 PM
Ah ha! Disappearer has another victim.:agree: They sure as hell do. Is that a killer album or what? I almost feel I should have ranked it even higher, but there's so much other good stuff to be revealed yet. ;).

idrinkwine732
02-16-2010, 06:49 PM
:agree: They sure as hell do. Is that a killer album or what? I almost feel I should have ranked it even higher, but there's so much other good stuff to be revealed yet. ;).

I love that album a whole lot, but I don't know if I'd put it above some of those. I think you represented it well in a year where it could have easily gotten flushed down the drain.

Fires Of Sedition
02-20-2010, 10:50 AM
http://www.code7music.com/store/images/dreaming_dead_CD.jpg
30. Dreaming Dead – Within One
If you didn’t know anything at all about this band and you were to hear this album, you might think that this was just simply a very decent thrash / death metal album. Upon further listening, however, if you’re like me, you’d have to admit that the riffs on the album are just a little catchier than your standard plain-vanilla sound. There is also a little bit of black metal mixed in here, just for flavor. Also, you’d probably notice in pretty short order that the vocals, although very harsh, are a bit unique. There are two layers of vocals here, and the primary one is female. Upon further investigation, you’d find out that this album was written and performed by only two people – co-founders Mike Caffell (drums, vocals) and Elizabeth Schall (lead guitar, lead vocals, bass and second guitar on album). The band now includes bassist Juan Ramirez and touring guitarist Laura Christine, but the fact that only two people made such a rich and beautiful album is quite impressive to me – and to be honest, the album is excellent even if you aren’t aware of any of this. The guitars and drums are very well-executed and clean, the production is excellent, the samples and other atmospheric parts add nicely to the overall sound, and basically this album sounds like a whole crew of very talented people worked very hard to put it together. Kudos to Elizabeth and Mike for releasing the second-best debut album of 2009!

So pissed that I missed them. :mad:

idrinkwine732
02-20-2010, 11:22 AM
^If Nile weren't so mindblowingly awesome, they would have blown everyone else off the stage.

Fires Of Sedition
02-20-2010, 11:28 AM
^If Nile weren't so mindblowingly awesome, they would have blown everyone else off the stage.

Yeah...my friend BJ wouldn't shut up about how bad ass they were and that they were the second best of the night....

I can't wait for the deathcore fad to fucking die.

DethMaiden
02-20-2010, 01:53 PM
^If Nile weren't so mindblowingly awesome, they would have blown everyone else off the stage.

Okay, guys (not just on this site but in metal in general right now). Get over it. There's a sexy singer who can belt some nice shrieks, but they're an extremely average, way too melodic kinda-not-really death metal band. If that chick wasn't the singer you wouldn't give a shit. Nile and Krisiun were definitely better and Immolation were close.

mankvill
02-20-2010, 01:58 PM
Okay, guys (not just on this site but in metal in general right now). Get over it. There's a sexy singer who can belt some nice shrieks, but they're an extremely average, way too melodic kinda-not-really death metal band. If that chick wasn't the singer you wouldn't give a shit. Nile and Krisiun were definitely better and Immolation were close.

Yeah. I thought they were good, but nothing special. Nile + Immolation + Krisiun put on amazing performances. :)

Natrlhi
02-20-2010, 11:42 PM
Okay, guys (not just on this site but in metal in general right now). Get over it. There's a sexy singer who can belt some nice shrieks, but they're an extremely average, way too melodic kinda-not-really death metal band. If that chick wasn't the singer you wouldn't give a shit. Nile and Krisiun were definitely better and Immolation were close.

I'd like to think I have a more discerning palette than that, Brad - and I think my posts on this board over the last nine months or so have proven that. I really like Dreaming Dead for a whole slew of reasons. Their riffs are really good. The melodies are very catchy to me. The guitarist can play (and yes, she is cute - but that's really just icing on the cake to me). Her vocals are decent, but nothing I'd cream my jeans about (and nor have I ever). I also really appreciate their D.I.Y. work ethic (go back and read my post again if you think I'm making that one up).

They were the runner up for debut album of the year on my list - an honor I wouldn't bestow casually - because I like their sound both live (where they were pretty damn good) and on album (where they shine even more, IMO). The lead guitarist / vocalist being female is a mere coincidence to me. Of course I get turned on when a petite chick can shriek and shred as hard as a guy twice her size - but I would like them whether this was the case or not.

EDIT: Note that nothing I said above has anything to do with comparisons to Immolation, Krisiun or Nile. Nile was way better by a landslide. I also gave Krisiun and Immolation big props in my gig review, and quite frankly they are heavier than Dreaming Dead by a landslide - although heavier and "better" are not necessarily the same thing to everyone. I'm not saying DD are better or worse than Immolation and / or Krisiun, just different. I was only trying to explain why I like them, and it's not because of my libido.

powerslave_85
02-20-2010, 11:48 PM
*goes to Google image search*

People have low standards when it comes to what's considered "hot" in the world of metal chicks :eyes:

Natrlhi
02-20-2010, 11:56 PM
*goes to Google image search*

People have low standards when it comes to what's considered "hot" in the world of metal chicks :eyes:

For the record, Brad is the only one who came close to saying that Elizabeth Schall is "hot", and I believe he said "sexy".

I'd say she's a good-looking gal - cute, but not "hot". Angela Gossow, however... :lovedup:

Or Cristina or Simone? Hell - I don't even like the bands those last two are in, but RRROOOOWWWRRRRRRRRRRR!!!

idrinkwine732
02-20-2010, 11:59 PM
If that chick wasn't the singer you wouldn't give a shit.

The reason why I consider the live performance to be so good is due to the fact that I expected very little. I got so much more than I could have expected, but for Krisiun and Immolation, I got what I expected. I acknowledged Nile as better, but I did not think that Immolation and Krisiun were better.

powerslave_85
02-21-2010, 12:01 AM
The only girl in a metal band I find remotely attractive is the chick from Light This City. She's normal looking, without a bunch of horrible makeup and retarded clothes.

http://sp8.fotolog.com/photo/56/7/64/chikas_del_metal/1206374659_f.jpg

Well, okay, Kat from Agoraphobic Nosebleed is pretty cute too.

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3499/3288536889_e652363f61.jpg

Natrlhi
02-21-2010, 12:06 AM
The only girl in a metal band I find remotely attractive is the chick from Light This City. She's normal looking, without a bunch of horrible makeup and retarded clothes.

http://sp8.fotolog.com/photo/56/7/64/chikas_del_metal/1206374659_f.jpg

Well, okay, Kat from Agoraphobic Nosebleed is pretty cute too.

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3499/3288536889_e652363f61.jpg
When did AN get Renee Zelwegger to do vocals? (Relax, I'm only kidding.)

...and I'd rather peruse Laura Nichols's ink than any other part of her, although she's not unattractive by any means.

EDIT: BTW, Walls of Jericho does slightly better female-fronted metalcore than Light This City, IMO.

powerslave_85
02-21-2010, 12:14 AM
When did AN get Renee Zelwegger to do vocals? (Relax, I'm only kidding.):lol:

Maybe it really is Renee Zellweger and she's been leading a double life as a grind vocalist all along :eek:

DethMaiden
02-21-2010, 12:32 AM
I'd like to think I have a more discerning palette than that, Brad - and I think my posts on this board over the last nine months or so have proven that. I really like Dreaming Dead for a whole slew of reasons. Their riffs are really good. The melodies are very catchy to me. The guitarist can play (and yes, she is cute - but that's really just icing on the cake to me). Her vocals are decent, but nothing I'd cream my jeans about (and nor have I ever). I also really appreciate their D.I.Y. work ethic (go back and read my post again if you think I'm making that one up).

They were the runner up for debut album of the year on my list - an honor I wouldn't bestow casually - because I like their sound both live (where they were pretty damn good) and on album (where they shine even more, IMO). The lead guitarist / vocalist being female is a mere coincidence to me. Of course I get turned on when a petite chick can shriek and shred as hard as a guy twice her size - but I would like them whether this was the case or not.

EDIT: Note that nothing I said above has anything to do with comparisons to Immolation, Krisiun or Nile. Nile was way better by a landslide. I also gave Krisiun and Immolation big props in my gig review, and quite frankly they are heavier than Dreaming Dead by a landslide - although heavier and "better" are not necessarily the same thing to everyone. I'm not saying DD are better or worse than Immolation and / or Krisiun, just different. I was only trying to explain why I like them, and it's not because of my libido.

Well justified. :fist: I still don't see the rage about Dreaming Dead, but I respect that.

Natrlhi
03-02-2010, 02:48 PM
Update coming later tonight - 100% guaranteed.

Plus, the list is done and the mini-reviews are written, so I could post the entire Top 30 right now if I wanted (but I won't).

Top 30 time! I'm really excited about these next couple of posts! :rocker:

Natrlhi
03-02-2010, 06:00 PM
http://notahippo.files.wordpress.com/2009/03/mono-hymn-to-the-immortal-wind.jpg
29. Mono – Hymn to the Immortal Wind
Mono is a post-metal band from Japan. Mono moves at a deliberate pace, and builds momentum very slowly. Mono starts off quietly, but can become very loud. You will not see it coming, but it will happen – and you will be swept away. In short, Mono requires patience. You must check your brain at the door, and let the music take you away. You probably should not listen to Mono while driving or operating heavy machinery, but you should definitely listen if you have about an hour to lay on your couch or bed and soar amongst the eagles. Mono slowly builds layer upon layer of muted drums and singing guitars – and finally come the crashing cymbals – to form an unstoppable wall of sound that will knock your socks off. Mono are very good at what they do. This is one of their best albums. If the above description sounds interesting, you should buy this album. If you like what you hear, you should go see them live (best results are with eyes closed).


http://www.angrymetalguy.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/08/Vader_-_Necropolis_artwork-300x300.jpg
28. Vader – Necropolis
I had been aware of this Polish death metal outfit for quite a while, but what little of their music I had heard had seemed like a somewhat unremarkable version of Morbid Angel, and so I wasn’t all that enthralled by this band. Then, I started hearing a lot of good buzz about them, including a tour for this album, so I went to see their set at Peabody’s last November. Wow. These guys have really evolved. They are now more like Behemoth in terms of sound than Morbid Angel, and not to compare those two bands to each other (which is a little like apples vs. oranges), but the point is that Vader is now faster, louder and much more confident in their own skins than before. They obviously know that they are officially death metal veterans – old, salty war dogs that have been there and destroyed that – and it shows on stage. It’s apparent on this album, too. Not only are their songs heavy and direct, but they even have some fun with it from time to time, including cover versions of two completely classic songs – Venom’s “Black Metal” and Metallica’s “Fight Fire with Fire”. Vader is not new to cover songs, but when they do it – unlike other bands – their versions sound almost as good as the original versions. This is an indicator to me that this band is a confident group of solid musicians who are happy to be doing what they do, enjoying the opportunity to pay respects to their influences and at the same time writing and performing some pretty damned impressive material of their own. This is a very solid album.


http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_E4pdwAQNjwM/Sg6QzHFISxI/AAAAAAAAAIQ/3bzsQ2SUZxY/s320/minsk.jpg
27. Minsk – With Echoes in the Movement of Stone
This doomy post-metal outfit from Peoria, Illinois continues the tradition of releasing progressively better material with this, their third full-length release. This album sees some experimentation and growth taking place (more on that in a moment), but also sees the band wisely retaining a firm hold on the moody atmospherics that have become part of their signature sound. As far as experimentation goes, this album is not groundbreaking. Instead, slight changes have been made which I feel are a definite plus. For example, the pace of the songs has picked up a bit, at least on the average. Songs do not take quite as long as in the past to reach a pretty decent level of intensity, and they tend to stay there longer. Another example is the drums. The same tribal rhythms which propelled the previous two albums do so here as well, but perhaps more steadily and more often. The same excellent vocals and Neurosis-like atmosphere pervade the proceedings on this album, as in the past. Overall, this is a very solid collection of work by an impressive band which seems to keep improving with every new release.


http://www.metalkingdom.net/album/img/d40/24139.jpg
26. ChthoniC – Mirror of Retribution
With the release of their previous album (2005’s “Seediq Bale”), many things began to happen in the world of this Taiwanese black / melodeath outfit. First, they’d sharply increased the level of their music from mildly interesting but somewhat same-sounding to truly unique and compelling, and second (and as a result of the previous), they were invited to play Ozzfest, and as such, their visibility and popularity increased dramatically. As a result, ChthoniC had set the bar fairly high for themselves for this album, almost to the point that the expectations would be unachievable. Then, an interesting thing happened – they blew the expectations out of the water with an album that was orders of magnitude better than the one that had put them on the map in the first place. This album is outstanding on so many levels, it’s difficult to know where to begin. The pace is fast and steady, and the songs absolutely shred. The riffs are interesting, compelling and memorable – and most importantly – highly entertaining, and there are excellent guitar solos all over the place. In addition, the keyboards and other additional instrumentation just fit so well and are used to such incredible and appropriate effect, that it’s just stunning how seamless the overall compositions sound. The keyboards and erhu are not afterthoughts – they are integral parts of the music, and they fit extremely well. Speaking of the erhu – a two-stringed Asian fiddle played with a bow – this instrument creates such a unique sound in the context of a metal composition that it’s difficult to see how it could fit into this type of music. ChthoniC not only make this unique instrument sound passable, but they use it to make the music sound better. If you’ve ever wondered what some excellent black / melodeath would sound like with a uniquely Asian flair to it, then look no further. ChthoniC’s new album will knock your socks off.


http://www.metalkingdom.net/album/img/d4/23853.jpg
25. Behemoth – Evangelion
I know of at least one person whose opinion on all things metal I respect very much, who has stated to me that he felt that this album was a disappointment. The first couple of times I listened to it, I felt the same way. However, as I am writing this review, I have no idea what I was thinking at the time. In fact, the more I listen to this album, the more I like it, and the more I am convinced that this may be Behemoth’s best album besides the masterpiece which is “Demigod”. Every song on this album is fast and brutal. The production is crisp and clean, and very good. Excellent use of samples and alternate instrumentation (keyboards, strings, what have you) is peppered throughout, and this really enhances the overall atmosphere of the album. The musicianship is of course exceptional, as always. Most importantly, the songs are well-written, interesting and memorable. There are a great many riffs which catch the listener’s ear and burrow deep within the brain. Everything that should be right about this album is, and all of the classic pitfalls are nicely avoided – so as I said, I’m not sure where my original opinion of this album as “weak” was coming from – this is a very solid and highly enjoyable album. (Edit: One of the best songs on the album – the incredibly heavy and sinister “Ov Fire and the Void” – has one of the best metal videos of 2009…I highly suggest checking out the uncut version online!)


http://www.livexs.nl/Joomla/images/stories/CDhoezen/doomriders_darkness_comes_alive.jpg
24. Doomriders – Darkness Come Alive
John Baizley of Baroness recommended this album to me (sorry, couldn’t resist the urge to name-drop there a little bit!) – but seriously, aside from name-dropping, there is another reason I mention this. Obviously, Baizley knows good music (or at least music that this reviewer likes), and I have to say that he was right on the money with this one. This is the second album from this Boston band, which features workhorse vocalist / guitarist Nate Newton of Converge. Now, for those of you who may not like Converge (let’s admit it, they’re not for everyone), fear not. This ain’t Converge. Doomriders is punky, but not extreme like Converge is. Instead, there is a definite flavor of sludge present here, along with some more conventional metal elements. These guys sound somewhat like Greg Lahm’s new band Struck by Lightning, but maybe a little more straightforward in terms of song structure. This is just plain old balls-out punk / sludge metal with shouted vocals and a hell of a lot of energy behind it (what else would Nate Newton do?). The album climbed rapidly (and continues to do so) ever since it entered my listening queue in December 2009, and as a result, I am now officially addicted to Doomriders! Awesome album.


http://img.noiset.com/images/album/a-storm-of-light-forgive-us-our-trespasses-album-artwork-30006.jpeg
23. A Storm of Light – Forgive Us Our Trespasses
Last year marked the debut of this post-metal project helmed by Josh Graham (visual collaborator of Neurosis / guitarist for Red Sparowes). In a nutshell, my description of last year’s album was that it sounded a lot like Neurosis – especially in terms of vocals – but that the pace was often slow and plodding, so that it reminded me primarily of the more drone-y parts of that band’s music. This year’s sophomore release is a whole other story. This album has balls – and it moves. It’s loud and heavy, atmospheric at times and relentlessly pounding at other times. The vocals still sound a lot like Scott Kelly of Neurosis, but essentially that is – and always was – a good thing. There is bona fide singing going on here, as with Neurosis, but it is also shouting at the same time – or at least it has the same emotional insistence as shouting does. In addition to increased pace and tempo, other fine improvements have been made, such as the very creative and extremely effective use of distorted vocal samples at the beginning and end of the album, as well as between several tracks. The samples are creepy both in their sonic nature as well as their lyrical content, and they really add to the dark, foreboding atmosphere of the album. Another obvious improvement is that the percussion work here is heavier, is featured more prominently, and figures more substantially in most of the compositions (in fact, there are times when the drums absolutely drive the music by themselves). Overall, this is a really outstanding album by an up-and-coming outfit in the somewhat crowded post-metal genre, and the approach this band is taking feels somewhat familiar, yet somewhat fresh and unique. This album spent quite a bit of time in my listening queue in 2009, and is therefore very highly recommended.


http://www.code7decoded.com/uploads/albums/1258819824-isis_live_V_lp_cover_small.jpg
22. Isis – Live V: Oceanic Live at ATP 7.23.06
Imagine if you will, a fictional answering machine message in your mind that goes something like this: “Hello, Aaron Turner of the legendary post-metal outfit Isis? My name is Joe Schmoe with All Tomorrows Parties, and we’d like you and your band to show up at Koko’s in London and play your seminal ‘Oceanic’ album in its entirety, with your buddy Justin K. Broadrick on mixing and mastering duties, so we can record it and release it for our ‘Don’t Look Back’ series. No pressure. Hope you’ll do it.” From what I gather, Isis wasn’t thrilled at the idea, but they graciously accepted the offer nonetheless. The result is this album. As the sparse liner notes portend, some of the tracks on this recording were quite old and rusty at the time, and Isis simply did their best with those – but others were either fresh in their mind due to recent touring, or the few rehearsals they got to do before the performance brought back old memories or something, but in quite a few cases, they absolutely slayed. There are definitely more home runs than foul balls here, and overall, Isis definitely knocked this baby out of the park. This is an excellent item for fans of the band, and to be honest, I would recommend it to a post-metal newcomer as well. The CD – which includes hand-made packaging – was limited to 1,000 copies, and I found out about the release too late to order one for the initial price of $10.00 – so I paid significantly more than that on eBay – but it’s one of the most cherished albums in my collection.


http://theregalbeagle.files.wordpress.com/2009/07/redfangsaberskull.jpg
21. Red Fang – Red Fang
Last year, a little album by the name of “Meanderthal” by an emerging sludge band called Torche took the metal world – and particularly this reviewer – by storm by being the undisputed “most fun metal album of the year” (or at least that’s how I saw things). This year, that title absolutely goes to this album – hands down, no questions asked. This album is nothing short of a phenomenal blast of fun, delivered with all the subtlety of a combat boot to the groin. The vocals are somewhat sung / mostly shouted, and sound somewhat like Dexter Holland of Offspring or Jared Warren of Big Business. The tone of the music is sludgy with a thick, crunchy bottom end, but is incredibly upbeat at the same time. The tempo of the music is definitely fast and furious, and it really doesn’t let up for the entire thirty-six minutes of the album’s length (which is entirely too short for an album that’s this good). At times, the band seems to channel the stoner-y goodness of a band such as Wolfmother, and at other times one can definitely detect the punk influence and work ethic of a band like Dillinger Four. Yet other times, one can feel the deep groove of a hard-rocking jam band such as Clutch. This Portland, Oregon quartet has recently signed to Sargent House, so here’s looking forward to some tour dates this side of the Mississippi, and many more albums to come. “Red Fang” is simply the best debut album of 2009, and without a doubt, it is one you should not miss.

ADD
03-02-2010, 08:34 PM
21. Red Fang – Red Fang

At times, the band seems to channel the stoner-y goodness of a band such as Wolfmother

:nonono:

Good to see them get love though, thought the songs were good, you've seen the Prehistoric Dog vid right?

Natrlhi
03-02-2010, 08:46 PM
:nonono:

Good to see them get love though, thought the songs were good, you've seen the Prehistoric Dog vid right?Yeah, excellent video. The goofball violence at the end always reminds me of the "War Metal Battle Master" video from Lair of the Minotaur a few years back (except minus the blood-soaked boobies). :D

What's wrong with the Wolfmother reference, BTW? Too mainstream / trendy / hipster-y of a band? Should I have compared them to Weedeater? I was looking for someone who is stoner-y and very groovy at the same time...would you have preferred a reference to The Sword, perhaps? ;)


EDIT: Anyway, I fucking love me some Red Fang. :rocker::rocker::rocker:

ADD
03-02-2010, 08:59 PM
What's wrong with the Wolfmother reference, BTW? Too mainstream / trendy / hipster-y of a band? Should I have compared them to Weedeater? I was looking for someone who is stoner-y and very groovy at the same time...would you have preferred a reference to The Sword, perhaps? ;)



They don't sound like Weedeater though, but that is closer to the mark than Wolfmother. Some contemporaries that are probably more apt to compare them to would be like Valkyrie, Early Man, Saviours, bands that are sincere, just victims of being born too late so as to have to share their time with shit like Wolfmother, The Sword, Priestess, etc.

Natrlhi
03-02-2010, 09:04 PM
shit like Wolfmother, The Sword, Priestess, etc.Ooooh, party foul. I like Wolfmother, The Sword and Priestess. I hope that doesn't hurt my metal cred around here too much. ;) Of course, if it does, c'est la vie. I like what I like. (For the record, I don't LOVE any of those three, but I find them enjoyable from time to time. IMO, The Sword > Wolfmother > Priestess, but Red Fang >>>>> all :D)

DethMaiden
03-02-2010, 09:05 PM
Ooooh, party foul. I like Wolfmother, The Sword and Priestess. I hope that doesn't hurt my metal cred around here too much. ;) Of course, if it does, c'est la vie. I like what I like. (For the record, I don't LOVE any of those three, but I find them enjoyable from time to time. IMO, The Sword > Wolfmother > Priestess, but Red Fang >>>>> all :D)

Backwards.

ADD
03-02-2010, 09:06 PM
Ooooh, party foul. I like Wolfmother, The Sword and Priestess. I hope that doesn't hurt my metal cred around here too much. ;) Of course, if it does, c'est la vie. I like what I like. (For the record, I don't LOVE any of those three, but I find them enjoyable from time to time. IMO, The Sword > Wolfmother > Priestess, but Red Fang >>>>> all :D)
Word, I like some songs from those bands too, but we can hopefully agree that they are all a tier below the other hesher bands mentioned here.

Natrlhi
03-02-2010, 09:15 PM
Word, I like some songs from those bands too, but we can hopefully agree that they are all a tier below the other hesher bands mentioned here.

Agreed. Wolfmother comes nowhere near my top 30.


The Sword was #25 on my list last year, though. :snivel:

TonyD
03-02-2010, 09:37 PM
Backwards.

+1

Natrlhi
03-03-2010, 07:43 AM
Backwards.

+1

If you're saying that the three bands in the tier below Red Fang are backwards, I don't have a strong enough opinion of any of those bands to disagree. Hopefully neither one of you was including Red Fang in your commentary, though. Thems would be some grounds for strong disagreement.

DethMaiden
03-03-2010, 08:08 AM
If you're saying that the three bands in the tier below Red Fang are backwards, I don't have a strong enough opinion of any of those bands to disagree. Hopefully neither one of you was including Red Fang in your commentary, though. Thems would be some grounds for strong disagreement.

Nope, just saying that Priestess are worlds better than Wolfmother who are marginally better than The Sword. :)

Natrlhi
03-03-2010, 09:53 AM
Nope, just saying that Priestess are worlds better than Wolfmother who are marginally better than The Sword. :)
Ah, cool beans then. :cool:

I have the least experience with Priestess out of the three, so hence my not being that strongly invested in my ranking. I bought a copy of "Hello Master" for five bucks a couple of weeks ago, and I like it pretty well. I'll be checking them out some more in the future - maybe live (April 3 at Skully's w/ High on Fire, Black Cobra & Bison B.C.).

Natrlhi
03-04-2010, 08:51 PM
http://www.thesirenssound.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/La-Find-Du-Monde-Monolith-300x300.jpg
20. La Fin du Monde – Monolith
I first checked out this instrumental post-metal quintet from Chico, CA because there was a link to their MySpace page on Giant Squid’s page. I liked what I heard. Then, I went to a show last Spring where I talked to the merch guy from IntrOnaut, who also recommended the band to me, and to his surprise, I had actually heard of them. So I checked LFdM out again, and liked what I heard even more. After some web crawling, I found out that this album was due to be released at the end of 2009, so I pre-ordered it from the band themselves (as they are currently unsigned – this album was self-released). When I first heard it, I was immediately reminded of why samples on a MySpace page, while a decent way to find out what a band sounds like in general, are no way to really check out a band’s sound. If you listen to samples and like what you hear, I say give the band a chance and buy the original. In cases such as this, you might just be blown away by what you hear when you play the CD through some good speakers or headphones. This band is a collective of guitar players with a really good drummer (somewhat like Isis, but no one does any vocals at all). In fact, they actually have two guitarists and two bass players, which one might think would result in a really heavy bottom end, but this is actually not the case. LFdM’s music is heavy at times, yet very melodic throughout, approaching the general tone of a band such as Gifts from Enola, but with a plethora of odd time signatures and intricate little tweaks that make the music incredibly complex, yet totally accessible at the same time. These guys are experts at weaving complex melodies based on strange structures, and yet making it sound smooth and beautiful. I love it when bands can do that – for example, Burst. It just takes such talent that one has to appreciate it on an analytical level, and yet the music is so beautiful and powerful that it completely satisfies on a purely visceral level as well. This is fantastic stuff.


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19. Immortal – All Shall Fall
For some reason, I’ve never really checked out Immortal until just recently. The loss is all mine, but at least I’m making up for it now. The reason I mention this is that I won’t really be able to compare this album to their other work in this review, but then again that’s not my primary motive anyway. I can say that this album seems to be at least on par with Immortal’s previous work, and if anything some of the songs are faster-paced yet still smooth as butter, and as anthemic as ever. The use of vocal and guitar effects, echoes and flanging and whatnot, plus the lyrical style, guitar riffs and drums all make the songs on this album sound very epic – like victory songs almost (but not in an Ensiferum or Amon Amarth kind of way – these tunes are a bit more sinister-sounding than that.). I also know that this album is a “comeback” album of sorts for Immortal, since it is their first release of new material in seven years, and I believe the band had supposedly broken up after their previous record, so for many fans this is very welcome material. I also read some reviews which stated that this album was a disappointment after such a long hiatus, but I couldn’t help but get the feeling that these folks were just resentful that one of their favorite bands had broken up (or supposedly so), and they just couldn’t get over it even in the wake of a phenomenal new album. At any rate, I for one loved this album, and would recommend it to anyone looking to check out this excellent band. To my knowledge, they have never released a poor album, and their reputation for putting out quality work is in no way tarnished by “All Shall Fall”. Highly recommended for fans of all things fast and / or blackened.


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18. Arch Enemy – The Root of All Evil
This album does not have one new track on it (except for the essentially disposable intro track at the very beginning). However, it received so much playing time in my listening queue last year, that it simply had to appear on this list. Not only that, but because all of the tracks are re-recorded versions of songs from Arch Enemy’s first three full-length albums, performed by the current lineup, they are at least somewhat “new”. Nearly every version on this album is either equal to the original in terms of both quality and “listen-ability”, and in many cases, the modern versions with Angela on vocals are even better. Now, I don’t make this statement lightly, and surely not because Angela is female. In fact, some of the vocals on these new tracks are even burlier than those with Johan Liiva (believe it or not). Also, the production on this album is fantastic – these “new” tracks sound better than ever. At any rate, this is an extremely palatable album by an extremely talented band, and it is very well executed. Highly recommended.


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17. If These Trees Could Talk – Above the Earth, Below the Sky
When I first heard this band, I was immediately reminded of the lighter side of post-rock bands such as Caspian and This Will Destroy You (this was a good sign). Their self-titled 2006 debut was very solid, and left me in anticipation for 2009’s sophomore follow-up…which in my opinion is even better. These guys have evolved their sound into something quite catchy. Many non-fans – or “semi-fans”, if you will – of the post-rock genre would say that much of it is difficult to distinguish from the rest, but here I disagree. ITTCT are definitely heavier at times than a Caspian, or a This Will Destroy You, or an Explosions in the Sky. They seem to stick mainly to the guitars, and don’t really rely on the electronics as much as bands like God Is an Astronaut, for example. At any rate, I enjoy the changes in tone, tempo and mood on this album very much. The flow is very good, and so is the production. Much of this album is very melodic, but there are times when it is crushing, too (just like good post-rock should be). I definitely recommend this album to anyone who is a fan of the above-referenced bands.


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16. Pelican – What We All Come to Need
Chicago post-metal masters Pelican are back with a new album, and this one might be their most accessible to date. It will be accessible to those who somehow have always wanted to like Pelican more, but couldn’t quite get into the deep sludge that was their first few albums, and it will also be accessible to long-time Pelican fans who may have believed that 2007’s “City of Echoes” was just not heavy enough. Pelican really seemed to have struck a nice balance on this album between the heavy sludge of yesteryear, and the more catchy & melodic aspects of their previous album. This album has heaviness (especially in its later tracks), but there are also some actual riffs here, too (witness “The Creeper”). Pelican has also experimented a bit on this album, including the addition of vocals on the album’s final track. Pelican purists may abhor this move, but others may praise it. The track is still unmistakably Pelican, but it is different to be sure. Whatever you might like about Pelican, the bottom line is you are sure to find it on this album. If you’re not yet a fan, this might be a good starting point – there’s something here for everyone.


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15. Clutch – Strange Cousins from the West
Although those that know me, know that I am a pretty big Clutch fan, those that really know me, know that I’m willing to admit that there are some songs scattered here and there across Clutch’s broad discography that just aren’t that great. Thus, I thought it would be appropriate to at least take a look at this album in the context of all of Clutch’s work, not that this review should be a comparison of this album to all its predecessors, but just to keep me objective and honest. In so doing, I’ve come to the conclusion that this is really one of the best albums that Clutch has ever released, and it’s for one simple reason. There are no duds here. Every song on this album ranges from somewhat interesting to absolutely addicting. Highlights such as “50,000 Unstoppable Watts”, “Abraham Lincoln”, “Let a Poor Man Be” and “Freakonomics” are just impossible to resist, and the rest of the tracks on this album are just a tad less interesting, but still very good. In addition, the digipak version of this album has one of the coolest and most creative packages I have ever seen, and I own a ton of CD’s. Plain and simple, this is just an extremely good album by an extremely entertaining band, and I love it.


http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_s9tgwCJOiKE/Sv8lDyxHpgI/AAAAAAAAAMg/o_UQykVzyT0/s320/Ensiferum.jpg
14. Ensiferum – From Afar
In a word, this album is fun. Ensiferum are folky as hell, and they are truly in top form on this album. The cool thing is, they are also as thrashy as ever. The musicianship on display here is so good, it almost goes unnoticed due to the catchy medieval tone of the music, which is very much in the vein of something like Amon Amarth (although the overall tone is a lot less dramatic or serious). Make no mistake about it, though - these people can truly shred. I saw this band as an afterthought at Summer Slaughter 2009, and I'm so glad I did. My initial listen to their material (about a year ago – someone gave me some mp3's) had left me underwhelmed, and I was not likely to revisit them again – but once I saw how much fun their set was, and how well these folks played, I was able to enjoy their music for what it is – folky, catchy, technically-impressive-yet-just-plain-old-fun thrash metal about mythical heroes and other such medieval nonsense. What a terrific album.


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13. Cormorant – Metazoa
Basically, the only thing I knew about this band when I first listened to this album is that Aaron Gregory of Giant Squid liked them, and that was enough to get me interested. What I didn’t realize was that these guys are not really like most smaller bands from the West Coast (referring to bands such as Giant Squid, Grayceon, Helms Alee, Ludicra and the like), in that they are primarily a death metal band with emphasis on both progressive black metal like Enslaved and Opeth, as well as “folk” metal like Agalloch or Ensiferum. Cormorant is very adept at bending genres to suit their creative whims, and while this is often a formula for disaster in less capable hands, this Bay Area outfit handles the task as well as any band I’ve heard in the last several years. “Metazoa” is Cormorant’s debut LP (they also have an EP entitled “The Last Tree”), and if this album is any indication, this band is headed for some huge success down the road.


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12. Gorod – Process of a New Decline
Some people might say that if you you’re “Jonesing” for a new album by Necrophagist (or even if you’ve almost given up hope that that will ever happen), you should maybe check out this band on Relapse called Obscura. I disagree. I suggest checking out this French band on Willowtip called Gorod. Holy crap, are these guys good. The sweep arpeggios abound (and often, there are TWO guitarists doing them at the same time)! Sick drumming is everywhere! Speed is king with Gorod, but so is accuracy. Technically, these guys are almost off the charts, but the best thing about this band – and it’s also true of Necrophagist, but perhaps even more true of Gorod – is that it is actually compelling, interesting music with a beat and a rhythm and some catchiness that actually makes you want to come back for more (sorry, Psyopus). This album showcases a new drummer for Gorod, and although the band’s previous drummer (who just happened to be female, by the way) was totally competent, the new drummer is perhaps even better. Somebody should tell Necrophagist that they would be well-advised to put out that new album they’ve been promising us for a while now soon, because there is a new, hungry technical death metal band on the block called Gorod who is going to eat their lunch if they’re not careful.


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11. Caspian – Tertia
As I’ve said before, having extremely high expectations for an album before it is released is sometimes not a good thing. Since Caspian is one of my favorite post-rock bands, I did have very high expectations for their third album, the aptly titled “Tertia” – and to tell you the truth, at first, I didn’t know what to think. I could tell that something was different about this album, and not always being a big fan of change, I was immediately brought to the defensive. This album is much heavier in places, and I wasn’t sure what to make of this at first. I also heard muted vocals (although there are no real lyrics, just some nice vocalizations that really add to the overall ambiance of the music). In the end, after many repeated listens, what I discovered about this album is that Caspian have grown by leaps and bounds. No longer content to make music that is simply “pretty” (although there are some extremely beautiful moments on this album), they are now in the business of knocking the listener’s proverbial socks off as well. This is a good thing, because bands like If These Trees Could Talk and Gifts from Enola are also entering the fray, and to not evolve in this genre is to die. So with this I say, long live the new and improved Caspian! The soundscapes are more expansive than ever, the use of effects and keyboards is better than ever, and the range of emotions evoked by the music just keeps getting more epic with every album. If you are (or think you might be) a fan of post-rock, you need to hear this.

DethMaiden
03-04-2010, 09:02 PM
I'm a big fan of some of these, but I'm an even bigger fan of the fact that the next list will have some others I'm a big fan of. ;)

Natrlhi
03-04-2010, 09:03 PM
the next list will have some others I'm a big fan of. ;):lol: You sound awfully confident about that. ;)

EDIT: Care to make any guesses?

Natrlhi
03-04-2010, 09:05 PM
I'm a big fan of some of these...and I'm not letting you off that easy.

Which ones on the list are you also feeling? Immortal and Clutch are a few obvious choices, but I have a feeling there might be more...do tell.

DethMaiden
03-04-2010, 09:09 PM
...and I'm not letting you off that easy. Which ones on the list are you also feeling? Immortal and Clutch are a few obvious choices, but I have a feeling there might be more...do tell.

Nah, those are really the only ones, and they made that section of my list as well. You had really ought to get into old Immortal, they're one of my absolute favorite bands. :fist:

But yea, I anxiously await your top 10. :D

Natrlhi
03-04-2010, 09:17 PM
Nah, those are really the only ones, and they made that section of my list as well. You had really ought to get into old Immortal, they're one of my absolute favorite bands. :fist:

But yea, I anxiously await your top 10. :D

You're preaching to the (devil-worshiping) choir on Immortal. I've already converted. :rocker::rocker::rocker:

Final ten coming tomorrow... :snivel:
(those reviews have been done for weeks)

Natrlhi
03-04-2010, 09:20 PM
Nah, those are really the only ones
I know you're falling out of love with post-metal and post-rock lately, but you really ought to check out La Fin du Monde, If These Trees Could Talk and Caspian...those bands are just so damned good. Cormorant is another one that really took me by surprise this year as well - that seems like it might be up your alley, too.

mankvill
03-04-2010, 09:24 PM
ana_l ____rakh

:)

DethMaiden
03-04-2010, 09:27 PM
I know you're falling out of love with post-metal and post-rock lately, but you really ought to check out La Fin du Monde, If These Trees Could Talk and Caspian...those bands are just so damned good. Cormorant is another one that really took me by surprise this year as well - that seems like it might be up your alley, too.

I heard the Cormorant actually, expected to like it a lot more than I did, but it didn't suck. As for the post-rock/post-metal stuff, yeah, I'm not as into it, but that's mostly because it's a genre that's 100000x better live. I'll never stop going to post-rock and post-metal shows but it's pretty much down to a small group of bands that I care enough about to buy the records of.

Natrlhi
03-04-2010, 09:31 PM
ana_l ____rakh

:)
Who? ;)

jhdeity
03-05-2010, 10:44 AM
Couple of head scratchers in this group but I'm sure you're going to finish up strong

Natrlhi
03-05-2010, 11:33 AM
Couple of head scratchers in this group
Like what? :snivel:

Fires Of Sedition
03-05-2010, 12:33 PM
Making my friend download Gorod now. :D

jhdeity
03-05-2010, 12:35 PM
Without bringing the haters out of the woodwork I'll just say the way you described Wrath is kinda how I would describe Strange Cousins. Nothing new, nothing ground breaking, kinda forgettable kinda deal. I've only been a Lamb of God fan for a few years but a song like Fake Messiah is totally new and groundbreaking for me. There is no other LOG song anything like it so when I hear how good this cd is and how bad that one is from someone I totally respect I just don't get it.

As you probably know I've been with Clutch since day 1. Watching them in clubs playing in front of 15 people all sitting at the bar. I'm pretty sure I own every song Clutch has ever released and certainly 99% of them.

That being said I just don't get Strange Cousins. I liked it when I 1st heard it but I really expected it to grow on me and become incredible like Black Gives Way to Blue did and it just didn't. It's missing an edge to me. Freakonomics actually sounds like a Wolfmother riff and Abraham Lincoln works live but on the cd it bores the shit outta me. I have a hard time listening to this cd start to finish withough moving on to older Clutch to get my fix.

I'm glad you're giving props to the local boys but if I had to rate this cd against the Clutch catalog it would be way at the bottom just above Jam Room. I'm hoping I'm wrong and it'll hit me one day but I don't think I am.

ADD
03-05-2010, 12:40 PM
On the Clutch front one thing I will say is they gotta get back that guitar tone they had on Blast Tyrant, they can still play the groovy blues but with that tone it'd be even better. Haven't really dug the production of their last two discs, though Cousins sounds a bit beefier than Beale St.

DethMaiden
03-05-2010, 12:58 PM
I don't have a problem with anything by Clutch, and again, I think it's better for them to play what they're feeling so they sound in their element. Also, Transnational Speedway League has about five good-to-great cuts and the rest is meh for me. They've peaked three times: the self-titled, The Elephant Riders, and Blast Tyrant.

ADD
03-05-2010, 12:59 PM
They've peaked three times: the self-titled, The Elephant Riders, and Blast Tyrant.

And as any man can attest, that ain't no easy feat :D

DethMaiden
03-05-2010, 01:00 PM
And as any man can attest, that ain't no easy feat :D

There's hardly any other band that has three distinctly different sounding masterpieces.

Natrlhi
03-05-2010, 01:00 PM
Without bringing the haters out of the woodwork I'll just say the way you described Wrath is kinda how I would describe Strange Cousins. Nothing new, nothing ground breaking, kinda forgettable kinda deal. I've only been a Lamb of God fan for a few years but a song like Fake Messiah is totally new and groundbreaking for me. There is no other LOG song anything like it so when I hear how good this cd is and how bad that one is from someone I totally respect I just don't get it.

As you probably know I've been with Clutch since day 1. Watching them in clubs playing in front of 15 people all sitting at the bar. I'm pretty sure I own every song Clutch has ever released and certainly 99% of them.

That being said I just don't get Strange Cousins. I liked it when I 1st heard it but I really expected it to grow on me and become incredible like Black Gives Way to Blue did and it just didn't. It's missing an edge to me. Freakonomics actually sounds like a Wolfmother riff and Abraham Lincoln works live but on the cd it bores the shit outta me. I have a hard time listening to this cd start to finish withough moving on to older Clutch to get my fix.

I'm glad you're giving props to the local boys but if I had to rate this cd against the Clutch catalog it would be way at the bottom just above Jam Room. I'm hoping I'm wrong and it'll hit me one day but I don't think I am.

Well when you put it that way, it's awful hard for me to disagree. :D

I guess what it boiled down to for me was that (a) I've never been much of a LoG fan (although I'm not a huge hater, either), so that part of the discussion ends at that point for me, I guess, and (b) the latest Clutch may not be as awesome as some of the older stuff, sure - and may lack the guitar tone that Addi liked, for example - but the bottom line for me was that the jams on the album just caught my attention in a way that they didn't do for you, I guess. I just couldn't get addictive ditties like "Freakonomics" and "Let a Poor Man Be" out of my head. Also, when I was honest about it with myself, I really kinda liked every single song on the album to some extent - may not have been in love with them all, but liked every one - and for me that's actually very rare. That more than anything else is what rocketed the album up the ranks for me - the fact that there was little to nothing on the album that made me want to hit the fast-forward button (and certainly not the eject button).

So that's my explanation, and I'm sticking to it. I totally respect everything you said, though, and I do thank you for commenting.

jhdeity
03-05-2010, 01:24 PM
It's funny I made 2 Clutch cd's a few months ago. The 1st one only consisted of The 1st 2 cd's with bonus tracks, Impetus, Pitchfork & Lost Needles. The 2nd was basically everything else. On paper the everything else cd looks so much better but I can't stop listening to the 1st cd.

Songs like Wicker, Pile Driver, Binge & Purge, Passive Restraints, Monster Trucks, Impetus, JWB, Big News 1, 2 & 3, Shotgun, Nickel & Dime, 12oz, Juggernaut, Prison Planet, High Caliber Consecrator & Spacegrass literally get better with every listen to me. Add the fact that the cd has 7 more songs and it might make more sense to people. These songs are HEAVY and are great driving songs for the most part.

Can't wait for the Top 10!

Natrlhi
03-05-2010, 09:52 PM
Can't wait for the Top 10!

Ask and ye shall receive:

http://www.rocksound.tv/images/uploads/co300.jpg
10. Coalesce – Ox
Lately there have been a lot of reunions and resurrections, as well as re-awakenings of bands that were dormant for years but perhaps never quite gone. All this was somewhat interesting at first, but lately the fad has begun to become a bit boring. Rather than go on citing the numerous recent examples of this, I would prefer to focus directly on one case where the “fad” has been anything but boring – Coalesce. Their latest release – the first in ten years – sees this pioneering band blazing all sorts of new territory, and letting fans know in no uncertain terms that, rather than losing their edge over the last decade, they have just been getting smarter and more creative than ever before. This album is quite simply their best offering yet. Not only is the production absolutely stellar, but Coalesce has honed their signature sound (changing tempos, harsh vocals, odd time signatures, etc.) into something which is quite compelling. Not to mention, they’ve lost absolutely none of their intensity whatsoever – this album is as much of an adrenaline ride as any other they have released. Plus, there are many interesting twists here as well. Some songs have interesting intros, or lyrics that are almost sung instead of screamed, or even tiny wanderings into other genres such as black/sludge metal, and even blues (witness “Wild Ox Moan”)! In short, this album is a very welcome return for an extremely talented band which obviously has many more new tricks to dazzle us with, even after an unfortunate decade-long silence. EDIT: Since this review was written, Coalesce has also released a companion EP to this album, aptly titled “OX EP”, which contains tracks which did not appear on the LP, but which fit the above description very well. Hence, there is no separate review for the EP, but it is just as good!


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9. Nile – Those Whom the Gods Detest
In the past, I have made the comment that it was time for Morbid Angel to realize that their place in the spotlight was now being occupied by Poland’s extreme metal stalwarts, Behemoth. It looks as if it may be about time for Behemoth to move over and yield to the new masters of this sub-genre: Nile. This album is everything that Behemoth’s 2009 release “Evangelion” wanted to be (and should have been), and more. Blistering drums? Check. Hellish vocals? Got ‘em. Catchy yet absolutely brutal riffs? Tons. Awesome lyrical themes about pagan gods and the occult? Hell yes. Behemoth has nothing on these guys, at least not this year (and that’s saying a lot for me, as Behemoth’s “Demigod” is one of my all-time favorites in this sub-genre). At any rate, this is an absolutely brutal, crushing album – and you need to hear it right now (or if you’ve heard it a bunch of times by now, then good – but go get it and put it on again. Do it!).


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8. Anaal Nathrakh – In the Constellation of the Black Widow
This album is just shy of thirty-five minutes long, but by the end of this relatively short time, even the most hardened listener will most likely feel like a worn-out rag doll. This is one of the most extreme albums I have heard in a long time, and probably also one of the most impressive. The breakneck speed is what most people notice right away, and to be sure, this is a trademark of this band. However, there is much more to love on this record – the filthy evil, black lyrics; the lonely and god-forsaken ambiance of despair (thanks to well-placed samples and keyboards), and of course the vocals. Dave Hunt might just have the most extreme vocal range on the planet. At times, he lets loose with some of the most blood-curdling shrieks imaginable, at other times, his vocals are a low growl, and at other times, he sings operatic clean vocals that would put Rob Halford to shame (yeah, I said it). The other album this year that had vocals which were as impressive as this, was Cobalt’s “Gin”, and like Cobalt, Anaal Nathrakh is a duo where one member contributes vocals and the other contributes the rest. Both bands are extremely impressive, as are both of their respective releases this year. This album is absolutely required listening for fans of either extreme metal or black metal, and especially for fans of both.


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7. Giant Squid – The Ichthyologist
The long-awaited follow-up to 2006’s critically-acclaimed “Metridium Fields” is finally here, and what a follow-up it has turned out to be. The band had undergone a few changes since their previous album, the most ostensible being the divorce of guitarists / vocalists Aaron Gregory and Aurielle Zeitler. With Aurielle’s departure, a large chunk of Giant Squid’s signature sound had left the band. Luckily, her pseudo-replacement, Jackie Perez Gratz (founding member of Grayceon, and also a member of Amber Asylum) provides a whole new twist to an already progressive doom metal sound. Jackie plays cello and sings, and although Aurielle did play both guitar and keyboards as well, those parts did not serve as a basis for the music the way Jackie’s often do in the new version of Giant Squid. The strong cello parts fold into the sound of the guitars and drums quite seamlessly (as they do in Grayceon), and the result is something that I doubt anyone has ever heard before. The music is sometimes crushing, sometimes melancholy, but always intense and interesting. This album also includes several additional instruments and guest appearances, including flute, oboe (played by Jackie’s sister Cat Gratz), violin (played by Kris Force of Amber Asylum), beautiful backing vocals from Anneke van Giersbergen (formerly of The Gathering), and also some ear-piercing screams from the inimitable Karyn Crisis. All of these myriad pieces are melded together with great care and skill by the band – Aaron Gregory in particular, who writes and arranges most of the music – to create one of the best albums of 2009.


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6. Mastodon – Crack the Skye
I am so glad I waited for a while before writing this review, because my first reaction to this album was not very positive (but don’t panic, sports fans – this also happened last year with Burst’s “Lazarus Bird”, which ultimately rose all the way to #2 on my list). My first impression was that Mastodon had gone fully over into Progressive-burg, and had made a conscious decision to leave the sledgehammer of the old days behind. What I found on repeated listens, though, is that the sledgehammer is still there, it just has a sharper peen, if you will. In other words, this album still has heavy parts all over it; I just had to absorb it as a whole to get the entire picture. After doing this, a very cool thing happened – the progressive elements took on a new form to me, and they started serving to enhance the parts I liked even more. I mean, dude – there is banjo on this album! There are keyboards and sound effects – and yes, some relatively clean vocals as well (gasp!) – but this is no longer a sticking point for me. In short, Mastodon have come up with yet another slab of heavy, progressive greatness that further illustrates just how good these guys are at writing music and playing their instruments. While I still have deep love for the classic, crushing Mastodon of old (“Remission” and “Leviathan” era), I am also starting to appreciate their newer work as well. This is an outstanding album.


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5. Russian Circles – Geneva
The third LP by Russian Circles is, in a word, more of a grower than the previous two – but if you hang in there and stick with it, this album will yield some pretty impressive moments. Now, I realize that this opening comment may sound like a pretty guarded recommendation, but in fact I love this album. It's just that it took me longer to appreciate its full beauty and merit than Russian Circles' previous two releases, and the reason for this is rather simple. Both "Enter" and "Station" were pretty straightforward in their awesomeness. Tracks like "Death Rides a Horse" and "Station" just leap out of the speakers, grab you by the throat and choke you right the fuck out. These tracks are rather direct in their power to destroy. Now don't get me wrong. Geneva has a track like this, too – the title track. However, much of the remainder of the album is more subtle than this. However, the less brutal songs are, as is often the case with this band, some of the best material on the album because of their sheer beauty. Case in point: “Melee”. The opening moments of this song just make me want to weep sometimes. The stick-clicking technique that drummer Dave Turncrantz employs here (and it's not the first time he has, either) is just as catchy as it is technically impressive. Then, the violin enters. Yeah, that's right – I said violin – and before you go thinking that this song is weak because I said that, you'd better listen before uttering such heresy. Just in case you were wondering, this album also features cello, trumpet and trombone, and each of these decidedly "non-metal" instruments is utilized to perfect effect (a tribute to the songwriting talent on display here). These guys have always been masters at creating catchy rhythms, soaring melodies, gradual crescendos, crushing climaxes and beautiful interlude sections before crushing your skull yet again with the next emotional maelstrom that waits just around the corner. This album shows Russian Circles just simply getting better and better at this. I mean, basically, this unbelievably skilled trio from Chicago makes me FEEL something huge every time I listen to any of their albums, and Geneva does this no less than the two albums before it. Never having uttered a single word, Russian Circles has repeatedly blown me away with their beautiful, crushing art. You need to listen to this album.


http://www.cokemachineglow.com/images/9155.jpg
4. Isis – Wavering Radiant
My expectations for this highly anticipated album were rather guarded, because I had heard that this one was going to be more melodic or "orchestral". As it turns out, this may be true - but only in parts. In other parts, it may be the most crushing album yet by this phenomenal band. The end result of these two polar extremes being exhibited on the same album is that Isis have shown more dynamic range on this album than any other (and that's saying a lot, because that is already what these guys are known for). In other words, Isis have outdone themselves yet again. I also noticed that the production on this album is notably less clean than their previous album "In the Absence of Truth" (which I also liked a great deal). This really works for Isis, and I think Aaron Turner knew it would. He was quoted as saying that this album is "closest to what this band actually sounds like", or something to that effect, and I agree. Don't misunderstand – this album is extremely well-produced. It's just that is isn't as super-slick clean as the previous album was. Isis sounds best with just a little bit of "grit" left in (in my opinion). So anyway – to wrap this up – I think this may be Isis's finest work to date. I really enjoy the sonic range on display here, and the plentiful crushing moments are linked together quite masterfully by many smooth passages as well. Isis truly knows how to craft not only epic songs, but epic albums – and they are showing themselves to be a very mature and stalwart band within a genre which has much fine competition within it. This is yet another awesome album by a truly phenomenal band.


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3. Kylesa – Static Tensions
I was expecting pretty decent things when I first queued up this album, based on having seen Kylesa live last year at a show at Peabody’s. What I heard, though, was unexpected. This album was not good. It wasn’t even decent. It is phenomenal. Simply put, I was awestruck. Rarely do I go into a situation (music, movies, whatever) with expectations actually somewhat high, and get blown away like this (the last time I can remember was with Baroness’s “Red Album”). I had known that Kylesa had three vocalists (two male and one female, all of whom also play guitar / bass), and I had known that they had added a second drummer (nice!), but I didn’t know how good this formula would actually sound until I heard this album. I am reminded in equal parts of Baroness, Converge, High on Fire, Torche, Helms Alee and even Black Sabbath. There are pounding, rolling drums. There are choruses of shouted harmonies that are really punk. There are cool guitar effects all over the place. The production is outstanding. Simply put, this is one of the best albums of the year for 2009. You need to buy this album.


http://theobelisk.net/obelisk/wp-content/uploads/2009/12/baronesscover.jpg
2. Baroness – Blue Record
The mighty Baroness is back with their much anticipated follow-up to 2007's critically-acclaimed Red Album, and the bar has been set pretty high. First, it bears mentioning that the band has replaced guitarist Brian Blickle with Peter Adams, and many have wondered how this would affect the band's sound (present company included). The answer – not at all (or at least not negatively). The same crushing riffs abound, along with the same Southern-sweet, yet edgy and progressive noodlings found on their previous albums. Speaking of which, there are possibly even more experiments present on this album than its predecessor, both in terms of song and album structure, as well as actual audio experimentation. Yes, Baroness knows how to write both individual songs and entire albums very well, and they are masters of the heavy riff to be sure – but we already knew that. What needed to happen in order for this album to be truly impressive was for this band to develop their sound into an even better, richer and more interesting form than they previously have, and if you ask this reviewer, they have succeeded. What's more, they have done so within the confines of an even shorter album (Blue runs only 44-odd minutes, while Red ran around 47-plus). Blue Record is another fine installment in the canon of a truly innovative and great band, and it continues a tradition of excellence that is expected to sustain long into the future. Long live the mighty Baroness!


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1. Cobalt – Gin
At its core, the duo that is Cobalt is primarily a black metal outfit, but especially on this latest album, there is one hell of a lot more than that going on. Before “Gin” even hits the two-minute mark, we start to hear some incredible drumming that seems to have the influence of Tool’s Danny Carey all over it. Before three minutes in, we start to hear some exceptional guitar work that sounds eerily like the work of Tool as well. By the time the first track is complete, it is quite obvious that this album has the potential to be something very special – and then, for the next hour, that expectation turns solidly into full-blown realization. Like Tool, these musicians – even if there are only two of them – can really write some highly compelling music, and they can also utilize their respective instruments (or voice, as it were) with great skill. This album is dark. It is heavy. It is rich with layers of depth. It is extremely well-produced. Sometimes, it is very quiet, and then a short time later, it is thundering. In the end, it’s simply the best album of 2009. The reason? Simple. It grabs you by your throat like a pit bull and doesn’t let up its grip for over an hour…not even one little bit. This album is relentless. It is unforgettable. It is perfect.

DethMaiden
03-05-2010, 10:00 PM
This is why I love you Natty. :bliss:

Gin is seriously one of the greatest albums of all time.

Natrlhi
03-05-2010, 10:36 PM
This is why I love you Natty. :bliss:

Gin is seriously one of the greatest albums of all time.

Yeah, we had four in common in our top ten, and the same album for top dawg of them all. Not bad, I would say. :D

I'm so in love with these ten albums, it's not even funny. I own all of them except for Anaal Nathrakh, and I'm working on picking up that one soon. I have had the distinct pleasure of witnessing seven out of my top ten albums played live in front of me this year (not all in their entirety - except for one, of course - but to a pretty significant degree for most of them). That is a true blessing right there. The three that I haven't seen live are Coalesce (who don't tour very much), Anaal Nathrakh (who tour even less), and Cobalt, who haven't toured at all for many moons, for obvious reasons.

....which brings me to the question of the day - what did Mr. McSorley tell you about a possible tour this year, got dammit?!? If you'd rather not post it publicly, send me a message - I promise not to tell! I gotta know if there is a chance in hell I'll ever get to see Cobalt any time in the near future! You have approximately 180 hours to tell me, or I am literally going to beat it out of you next weekend. Tick, tock, tick tock... :D

DethMaiden
03-05-2010, 10:43 PM
....which brings me to the question of the day - what did Mr. McSorley tell you about a possible tour this year, got dammit?!? If you'd rather not post it publicly, send me a message - I promise not to tell! I gotta know if there is a chance in hell I'll ever get to see Cobalt any time in the near future! You have approximately 180 hours to tell me, or I am literally going to beat it out of you next weekend. Tick, tock, tick tock... :D

Ah man I thought I leaked it already. Basically, either late this year or in 2011 they're looking to do some Eastern U.S. stuff because Erik lives in NYC now and SSgt McSorley only gets a couple weeks a year to gallivant around the country. If that brings them even as close as Philly I'd have to strongly consider going.

MPF
03-05-2010, 10:48 PM
I gotta say, you've put together some incredible lits!

Maybe bands I've checked out thatnks to the lists as well. Thanks for the time and effort!

Natrlhi
03-05-2010, 11:05 PM
Ah man I thought I leaked it already. Basically, either late this year or in 2011 they're looking to do some Eastern U.S. stuff because Erik lives in NYC now and SSgt McSorley only gets a couple weeks a year to gallivant around the country. If that brings them even as close as Philly I'd have to strongly consider going.Hmmm...well, it's certainly possible it had leaked without my knowing about it - Cobalt info is pretty hard to find. Luckily, this is happening on our side of the country, anyway. I would travel many miles to see these guys, I'll tell you that. Hopefully, the dates will be doable for me. The later in the year, the more likely I'll be able to tear away from the newly augmented family unit...if it was next summer and involved a road trip, it would be somewhat unlikely (unless it happened to be in Chicago - I have in-laws near there, and have already managed to swing Meshuggah, Pelican, Giant Squid / Grayceon and Arch Enemy shows because of that little fact :D).

Natrlhi
03-05-2010, 11:08 PM
I gotta say, you've put together some incredible lits!

Maybe bands I've checked out thatnks to the lists as well. Thanks for the time and effort!

Thanks for your comment. Any time someone discovers something new to like - or better yet, love - because of a tip I was able to give, it makes me smile. It's all about spreading the disease - I mean, love - man! ;)

TonyD
03-05-2010, 11:09 PM
(unless it happened to be in Chicago - I have in-laws near there, and have already managed to swing Meshuggah, Pelican, Giant Squid / Grayceon and Arch Enemy shows because of that little fact :D).

Clever girl

Natrlhi
03-05-2010, 11:11 PM
Clever girl

Why, thank you, Dr. Lechter. ;)

TonyD
03-05-2010, 11:18 PM
Why, thank you, Dr. Lechter. ;)

Actually... (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TO5wryDdEI0)

Natrlhi
03-05-2010, 11:24 PM
Actually... (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TO5wryDdEI0)

:lol: Whoops. I usually don't fuck up my film references like that. Ya got me there. :D


EDIT: Classic movie and movie moment, BTW. :rocker:

EDIT2: I take back what I said about fucking up film references. Check out 4:08 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UUjnbbc0iIM)

mankvill
03-05-2010, 11:40 PM
adopt me, nat. :bliss:

mastodon421
03-06-2010, 06:57 AM
Nice finish Nat. Those Whom The Gods Detest,Blue Record and Crack The Skye all cracked the Top 20 on my list as well. Also im gonna finally listen to Wavering Radiant today, I don't why the hell it has taken me so long.

jhdeity
03-06-2010, 10:14 AM
That's what I call finishing up strong. Kylesa and Cobalt are 2 cd's I'll be listening to for years to come. Can't wait to finally see Baroness even though it's as an opener.

I was wondering how Kylesa got that pounding wall of sound...

Natrlhi
03-07-2010, 09:04 PM
I got a bit behind in my replies...apologies:

Those Whom The Gods Detest,Blue Record and Crack The Skye all cracked the Top 20 on my list as well.
I had high expectations for both Baroness and Mastodon - knew they were coming and hoped they'd be great...and they were - but Nile...holy shit.
That's just one brutal ass album right there. :rocker:

Also im gonna finally listen to Wavering Radiant today, I don't why the hell it has taken me so long.You're in for a treat. I had high expectations for that, too - but Isis surpassed those.
Some folks didn't like it as much as I did, but personally I think it's some of their best work (and that's saying a lot - I simply love that band). :lovedup:

That's what I call finishing up strong. Kylesa and Cobalt are 2 cd's I'll be listening to for years to come. Can't wait to finally see Baroness even though it's as an opener.Kylesa really knocked the ball out of the park this year. I still get giddy when I think how awesome that album was (is). Cobalt...channeling demons, that's all I've got to say about that. Glad you're finally gonna get to see Baroness - they are a real treat to see live. So intense at their craft, and yet when you meet them - which I totally recommend that you try - they are so humble and down to earth. Great musicians, and great people. :fist:

I was wondering how Kylesa got that pounding wall of sound...The dual drummers thing has been done a few times before, but never quite like this. It really helps make the album as great as it is. It also adds to the band's live performance tremendously. You've really got to see them live whenever you can as well - theirs was one of the best live performances I saw last year. :rocker:

Natrlhi
03-07-2010, 09:15 PM
Thanks everybody for reading, and also for all the comments.

One last piece of business - remember a few pages back when I mentioned those category awards I was going to post? Well here they are:

Best EP: Hail of Bullets – Warsaw Rising
Best Compilation Album: Arch Enemy – The Root of All Evil
Best Live Album: Isis – Live V: Oceanic Live at ATP 7.23.06
Best Debut Album: Red Fang – Red Fang
Best Thrash Album: Skeletonwitch – Breathing the Fire
Best Death Metal Album: Nile – Those Whom the Gods Detest
Best Black Metal Album: Anaal Nathrakh – In the Constellation of the Black Widow*
Best Grindcore Album: Mumakil – Behold the Failure
Best Post-Metal Album: Isis – Wavering Radiant
Best Post-Rock Album: Caspian – Tertia
Best Sludge Metal Album: Baroness – Blue Record
Best Doom Metal Album: Pelican – What We All Come to Need
Best Non-Metal Album: The Prodigy – Invaders Must Die!
Best Album Packaging: Clutch – Strange Cousins from the West

* - Technically, this was the best black metal album that didn't also win album of the year. Plus, Cobalt is not strictly black metal in my book - although that's obviously their primary bent.

Derelict
03-08-2010, 08:34 AM
Thanks for finishing this up, really enjoyed reading it :rocker:

Natrlhi
03-08-2010, 08:44 AM
YW :cool:

idrinkwine732
03-08-2010, 12:49 PM
You know how happy I am to see Metazoa on here.

Natrlhi
03-08-2010, 01:06 PM
You know how happy I am to see Metazoa on here.I have a feeling, yes. ;)

I was wondering when / if you were going to bring your lazy ass down to this thread to check the status of that album. ;)

I would say #13 out of 98 on a list like this is doing pretty good. Higher than you expected, or just right?

idrinkwine732
03-08-2010, 03:13 PM
Ah man I thought I leaked it already. Basically, either late this year or in 2011 they're looking to do some Eastern U.S. stuff because Erik lives in NYC now and SSgt McSorley only gets a couple weeks a year to gallivant around the country. If that brings them even as close as Philly I'd have to strongly consider going.

If this is close to true, I hope its in 2011, because I'd be able to go back east for a Cobalt show.

idrinkwine732
03-08-2010, 03:15 PM
I would say #13 out of 98 on a list like this is doing pretty good. Higher than you expected, or just right?

I was expecting it to be right around there. I'm pleased that others really liked it, I love that band. I might be checking them out on Monday, they're playing with Suidakra.

idrinkwine732
03-08-2010, 09:11 PM
1. Cobalt – Gin
...It is perfect.

This part of your review on Gin has had me thinking quite a bit. I loved Gin, and it has grown on me extensively since I first listened to it, which was in Novemberish, but I still don't know how to describe it. I like a few albums better, Metazoa and Crack the Skye being two of them, and I wouldn't call them perfect. But something about Cobalt seems deserving.

Natrlhi
03-08-2010, 09:20 PM
This part of your review on Gin has had me thinking quite a bit. I loved Gin, and it has grown on me extensively since I first listened to it, which was in Novemberish, but I still don't know how to describe it. I like a few albums better, Metazoa and Crack the Skye being two of them, and I wouldn't call them perfect. But something about Cobalt seems deserving.

Interesting comment. I guess I would define "perfect" as meaning "it contains everything I would want an album to contain, and it's extremely well executed." As far as what it contains that I like, there's the excellent musicianship, wicked good riffs, extreme lyrics, scary good vocals, dark atmosphere, and most of all an unrelenting intensity that lasts for a period of time that most albums can't sustain for even half that long. It's just so got damn dark and wicked, never gets boring, and fires on all eight cylinders at top speed for over an hour. It's like watching the Lakers and the Cavs in Game 7 of the NBA playoffs (which is going to happen this year....mark my words! ;)) - it just leaves you drained at the end. You almost can't hit "play" again after it's over (notice I said "almost" ;)).

idrinkwine732
03-08-2010, 10:00 PM
I completely understand the reaction. The album for sure had me on extremes the whole way through, but I guess I sort of consider a perfect album to be something that touches on all extremes. Gin didn't necessarily do that to me.

DethMaiden
03-09-2010, 08:52 AM
It's like watching the Lakers and the Cavs in Game 7 of the NBA playoffs (which is going to happen this year....mark my words! ;))

Cavs will only need four games to beat the Lakers. ;)

Natrlhi
03-09-2010, 09:40 AM
Cavs will only need four games to beat the Lakers. ;)
I'd love - LOVE to believe that. ;)