View Full Version : I couldn't think of a clever name for a review thread

12-24-2010, 07:00 PM
EDIT: changed title of thread... I'd like to think that the confusing title is the reason nobody has been commenting on here :eyes:

Expect a Top 10 Performances of the year up soon (opting to do this rather than shows themselves).
In addition, I shall have my Top 10 Albums of the Year list up sometime next week :)

In the meantime, let's get this off to a controversial start, shall we?

Most Surprising Performances (not ranked)
*that is, the bands I hated/disliked on record that weren't half-bad live*

Suicide Silence @ Lakewood Amphittheatre
Warped Tour

First of all, I don't hate these guys on record. They've got a couple of decent/pretty good songs. They're definitely not a favorite of mine, though.

A couple of kids at my school have told me how great this band is live. Obviously, I'm not one to side with scene kids, but in this case, I have to. They were actually pretty good live and held my interest for a little while. Mitch Lucker is a loser, constantly calling for circle pits and telling the crowd to put their middle fingers up in the air, but he does have a decent stage presence, to boot. "Wake Up" and "Lifted" were pretty sick :blaze:

Carnifex, Veil of Maya @ Masquerade- Heaven stage
Summer Slaughter

I hate both of these guys on record. Their breakdowns and overall tone are pretty fucking horrendous. However, neither band particularly sucked balls that day. Carnfiex weren't good per se, but they were by no means bad, either. Veil of Maya, on the other hand, were actually really good live. They sounded so much different. Since the show, I've read that their gimmick is the guitarist playing his stuff back through his pedal or something. It made everything sound more electronica-esque.

Gaza @ Masquerade- Heaven
Converge, Gaza, Black Breath

Gaza's label as "sludgy grind" definitely appeals to me. I like sludge and I love grind. However, these guys are just way too slow and boring for my taste. Their grind parts are too few in number and not interesting enough.
However, they did impress me live. The band was energetic and they sounded heavy as fuck. Very fun performance, actually.

12-24-2010, 08:33 PM
Top Live Performances of the Year

10. Vital Remains @ Masquerade- Heaven
Summer Slaughter

A crushing set. 20 minutes of painstaking kickassery and brutality. Admittedly, the sound could have been better- which may have contributed to my somewhat failed expectations. Nevertheless, it was fucking sick. "Dechristanize" ripped my face off, and more.

9. Black Breath @ Masquerade- Heaven
Converge, Gaza, Black Breath

They only played a 20-minute set, but wow, what a set! The frontman definitely played the part of hardcore frontman onstage, maybe without any jumping into the crowd. I can't really add anything else, except confirm what everybody else is saying, that Black Breath are a great live band, indeed.

8. Testament @ Tabernacle
Megadeth, Testament, Exodus

My single biggest piece of evidence that Testament is a fantastic live band? They played all of The Legacy...I hate that album. (Oh yeah, they played "Into The Pit," too :D)

7. Malevolent Creation @ Masquerade- Heaven
Exodus, Malevolent Creation, Holy Grail, Bonded by Blood

They blew away Exodus without a doubt. I didn't recognize anything they played, but by god they fucking killed it! They played about 40 minutes and savagely beat my ass all the way through. Oh god, it was sooooo brutal....

6. Goatwhore @ Masquerade- Hell
Watain, Goatwhore, Black Anvil

Awesome performance. I was right up front, shouting most of the words and headbanging my ass off. Ben looked at me a bunch and gave me a :fist:. Great setlist, too. Ben has such an amazing stage presence. I waited so long to see these guys (I actually missed 7 different chances to see them) and they definitely did not disappoint. :party:

12-25-2010, 10:48 AM
5. Cephalic Carnage @ Masquerade- Heaven
Summer Slaughter

Even though their new album sucks, I cannot deny the sheer awesomeness of this performance. I was in love with Xenosapien at the time and so I had looked forward to them, for sure, but I did not expect them to blow my mind to such an extent. They played for about 25 minutes and totally kicked my ass that night. Although this was my first grind "show," I still had yet to fully grasp the power of grindcore in a live setting...

4. Every Time I Die @ Masquerade- Hell
Every Time I Die, Trap Them, Howl

This was on their "intimate venue" tour. Though the venue wasn't as intimate and small as I would've liked, it was still very nice and much better than the venues they usually play. The place was fucking packed, and the crowd was crazy as hell. But what do you expect at an ETID show? The setlist was amazingg, though I do wish they played for more than an hour. I can't complain, though. Even though the crowd probably drowned out the band at times, I still heard the band perfectly and enjoyed myself immensely. I wish I had the balls to stage-dive, though... :bouville:

3. Death Angel @ Masquerade- Heaven
Death Angel, Halycon Way, Brazen Angel, Force of Habbit

I kind of liked these guys before I saw them live, but I didn't think they were that good. The Ultra-Violence was a pretty good album but that was about it. Still, in the back of my mind I thought/hoped that Death Angel would be one of those bands who completely surprises me live. I was right. They were intensely captivating, just simply amazing, really. I felt bad for them, though: barely 40 people showed up, and the venue was almost 900-person capacity. I had to leave before the encore, unfortunately, but all in all it was a great night. Thrashtastic :blaze:

2. Wormrot @ Eyedrum
Phobia, Maruta, Wormrot

These guys did not fail to meet my expectations. In fact, they exceeded them. Wow... even after Cephalic, I never realized how fun grindcore could be live! Seeing them in an art gallery with 25 other people seemed oh so fitting. They rocketed through Abuse as well as a bunch of new songs from their recent split with I Abhor. How a three-piece band could make so much fucking noise is beyond me. All of us were crammed right against the stage, headbanging and going crazy in general. The moshing was the best I've experienced at any show. Perhaps this was because there was not a traditional "pit," just people running around apeshit. Best show all year without a doubt.

1. Vektor @ 585 Wells St
Vektor, Severed Faith, Living Decay

Wow... Just wow. Wormrot may have been the show of the year, but this was definitely the performance of the year...even if I only saw one song. Yep, one song ("Black Future"), and that song alone was the best performance I've seen by any band ever. It was so immensely powerful. Amazingly enough, I wasn't even a Vektor fan at the time. I thought they were good, but like Brad here, I didn't think they were anything special. Seeing them live in an old warehouse with 30 other people changed all of that for me. And pretty much everyone else who has seen Vektor live will tell you the same thing, that they are probably the best live band in metal, today, yesterday, and tomorrow :horns:

12-25-2010, 11:04 AM
1. Vektor @ 585 Wells St
Vektor, Severed Faith, Living Decay

Wow... Just wow. Wormrot may have been the show of the year, but this was definitely the performance of the year...even if I only saw one song. Yep, one song ("Black Future"), and that song alone was the best performance I've seen by any band ever. It was so immensely powerful. Amazingly enough, I wasn't even a Vektor fan at the time. I thought they were good, but like Brad here, I didn't think they were anything special. Seeing them live in an old warehouse with 30 other people changed all of that for me. And pretty much everyone else who has seen Vektor live will tell you the same thing, that they are probably the best live band in metal, today, yesterday, and tomorrow :horns:


12-25-2010, 12:43 PM
ONE song made them your #1.


12-25-2010, 01:34 PM

See them live. Before I saw them live I was on the same boat as you.

12-26-2010, 05:59 PM
The 5 Worst Performances of the Year...

by bands I had already hated/disliked beforehand:

5. Megadeth @ Gwinnett Arena
Slayer, Megadeth, Anthrax

I don't particularly dislike Megadeth, I just had no expectations for them after their shitty performance w/ Testament and Exodus. Unlike Slayer, however, I wasnít hoping that I would be pleasantly surprised by their second performance, because I donít really like Megadeth anyway (but like I said, I don't dislike them either). So yeah, Mustaine is a loser, and his vocals have gone down the shitter. Thatís basically it, really.

4. Devin Townsend @ Masquerade- Heaven
Between the Buried and Me, Cynic, Devin Townsend, Scale the Summit

I didnít expect much in the first place, so I canít put this in the Disappointing category, but wow, this guy was bad. Even before he had to use the metronome or whatever, he wasnít very good. Also, my friend, a huge Devy fan, thought he sucked.

3. Howl @ Masquerade- Hell
Every Time I Die, Trap Them, Howl

similar to Zoroaster in terms of loudness (you'll read about that below), but not as loud nor as bad.

2. Bonded by Blood @ Masquerade- Heaven
Exodus, Malevolent Creation, Holy Grail, Bonded by Blood

Decent thrash, I guess, but the vocals absolutely killed it for me.

1. The Faceless @ Masquerade- Heaven
Summer Slaughter

I cannot see how or why people go so crazy over their live shows. They sounded so flat, so weak. I do hate the band, but I was honestly surprised at how fucking bad they were live.

by bands I had never listened to before:

5. Batillus @ Eyedrum
Kowloon Walled City, Batillus

Like Zoroaster, I knew that they were doom metal, which is why I didnít listen to them beforehand. Incredibly loud performance, maybe even louder than Zoroaster. Fortunately, their music was better. (Honestly, once I retreated into the other room and the music wasnít nearly as loud, it actually sounded okay.)

4. Zoroaster @ Criminal Records (in-store performance)

This show alone probably gave me tinnitus. A half-hour set of the LOUDEST music Iíve ever heard. And it all sounded the same and wasnít very good, but man, the VOLUME.

3. Holy Grail @ Masquerade- Heaven
Exodus, Malevolent Creation, Holy Grail, Bonded by Blood

I didnít dig the power metal-thrash thing they had going on, and the vocals were just horrendous.

2. Brazen Angel @ Masquerade- Heaven
Death Angel, Brazen Angel, Force of Habbit

Really, really cheesy power metal. Or maybe just power metal, I'm not sure. (I don't listen to power metal, so I dunno if this would be considered any good.)

1. Force of Habbit @ Masquerade- Heaven
Death Angel, Brazen Angel, Force of Habbit

see above.

12-26-2010, 06:19 PM
The 5 Most Disappointing Performances of the Year
*measured by extent to which I was disappointed, not the shittyness of the performance itself*

5. All Shall Perish @ Masquerade- Heaven
Summer Slaughter

Yes, I admit it. For a deathcore band, Iím quite fond of All Shall Perish. But they were pretty shitty live. Well, no, I take that back. They were probably the shittiest band at Summer Slaughter, with The Faceless a close second. I dunno if they sounded weak per se, but something about their live performance made me question why I had ever liked them in the first place. They definitely did not transcend the deathcore genre on stage.

4. Megadeth @ Tabernacle
Megadeth, Testament, Exodus

I knew that Cumstaineís vocals werenít very good anymore (which is why my friend and I passed on the tour with High on Fire a couple years back, before I knew about High on Fire). But I did not realize how bad they actually were. The band sounded horrible as well (maybe bad sound? I doubt it). Then he went blabbering on about his childhood for about ten minutes. What a douche.

3. Exodus @ Masquerade- Heaven
Exodus, Malevolent Creation, Holy Grail, Bonded by Blood

I enjoyed these guys a lot when I saw them with Megadeth. Honest to Satan, I did. However, they just flat out blew this time. I think the sound was off as well, but I finally did realize the extent to which Rob Dukes is a douche. I mean, I donít think heís a particularly mean guy, but heís just a fucking loser, with his anti-terrorist t-shirts and rants. I like him the best out of all the Exodus frontmen, but I still think heís pretty annoying. And what a shitty setlist! Iím glad they did ďChildren of A Worthless God,Ē but címon, no ďA Lesson in ViolenceĒ?

2. Between The Buried and Me @ Masquerade- Heaven
Between the Buried and Me, Cynic, Devin Townsend, Scale the Summit

All their songs sounded the same live, despite the fact that they clearly donít on record. And the crowdÖdonít get me started on them.

1. Slayer @ Alcatraz (Milan, IT)
@ Tabernacle
Slayer, The Haunted
Slayer, Megadeth, Anthrax

You can read all about in my review (itís a good, lengthy one), but hereís the short version: This summer, I was on vacation in Italy at the time with my family, and Slayer was playing in Milan (through which we had originally planned to pass on the train). So I saw my favorite band. And they were not as good as I expected. Not nearly as good. True, I had set my expectations way too highÖ.but really, Slayer? Really? For the next few months I was convinced that it was the sound that sucked, not the band itself. When they rolled through Atlanta with Megadeth, I went to find out whether my theory was correct. Still hard to say, but Iím guessing No. They were still terrible. I mean, this place wasnít particularly known for having good sound, either, but that would be a bit of a coincidence, donít you think?

12-26-2010, 11:38 PM
The Worst Performances of the Year...

2. Bonded by Blood @ Masquerade- Heaven
Exodus, Malevolent Creation, Holy Grail, Bonded by Blood

Decent thrash, I guess, but the vocals absolutely killed it for me.


I have only seen Bonded By Blood once in concert, but goddamn they were one of the worst live bands I have ever seen in my life. Holy shit, they were fucking terrible. The riffs and drummings didn't sound too bad but it was the VOCALIST that totally killed it for me...Holy hell, he sounded like a 12 year old girl with down syndrome(His Lyrics and voice is so goddamn corny and lame I couldn't take this band serious). I saw them in May of this year at the 4th annual Thrasho De Mayo Metal Festival before the original singer left. I don't know how the new singer sounds but the one I had to endure couldn't sing for shit even if his fucking life depended on it....I don't get how some of the people on this board can like this piece of garbage:hecho:

Bonded By Blood = :barf:

inb4 cool story bro

12-27-2010, 08:01 AM
You saw Slayer in a foreign country and it was your biggest disappointment along with another Slayer show and 2 Megadeth shows? And your best performance was 1 song by some underground band? I feel bad for you man.:lol:

12-27-2010, 08:05 AM
Yeah, those last three top five lists are some of the whiniest shit I've ever read. ;)

12-27-2010, 05:22 PM
Yeah, those last three top five lists are some of the whiniest shit I've ever read. ;)

They're supposed to be negative. I'm sorry if they come off "whiny" to you ;)

You saw Slayer in a foreign country and it was your biggest disappointment along with another Slayer show and 2 Megadeth shows? And your best performance was 1 song by some underground band? I feel bad for you man.:lol:

Don't feel sorry for me. Seeing them in a foreign country was a killer experience, I just set my expectations for the performance too high.

12-28-2010, 01:52 PM
And now I shall count down my ten favorite albums of the year!


10. Misery Index- Heirs to Thievery:

The first time I listened to this album, I was captivated. It combined death metal and grindcore but not as deathgrind. Rather, the two genres worked against each other. The final product had a very nice punk edge to it.

Several months later I decided to download this whole band's discography. It seemed that Heirs was their worst album! Even so, I hadn't listened to it in a while. A couple of months later I gave it another spin. It still sounded good, but something was wrongÖI just couldn't put my finger on it. I kept listening to it and the 'something wrong' became more and more obvious, but I still didn't know what it was. Then, one day, my brother randomly commented how he hated the new Misery Index album because it had too many breakdowns.

Surprised, I realized he may be right. I gave it another listen, and discovered that he couldn't be more right. Most of their riffage was of the chug-chug variety, even when the band wasn't "breaking it down."

So why am I still including this album? Good question. Even I'm not completely sure, though I do have to say that Misery Index are damn good songwriters. A bunch of these songs are totally memorable, and not in the bad way, either. Anyways, I would especially recommend this album to those metal fans just beginning to like death metal.

Recommended songs: "Embracing Extinction," "Fed to the Wolves," "The Carion Call," "The Spectator," "You Lose"


9. Bison B.C.- Dark Ages:

Okay, so I'm not a huge sludge fan. I do like sludge that's different, though: the progressive sludge of Mastodon, the pshycadelic sludge of Kylesa, or in this case, the thrashy sludge of Vancouver 's very own Bison B.C.

This band differs from most of their contemporaries in that they have a much wider range of influences, and they wear them proudly. Furthermore, they have ample opportunity to display these influences, as most of the seven songs on this album are well over the five minute mark. I would have to say that the most significant influence in this album is thrash metal. Honestly, I am just amazed at the amount of thrash riffs on this record. In fact, the thrash works particularly well with the sludge. And their vocalist has some pretty awesome death growls. (that's right, death growls in sludge!)

I remember the first time I listened to this record in full, I immediately posted on the '2010 So Far' thread that it sounded exactly like Remission. Nat quickly corrected me, pointing out that while they did take some influence from Mastodon, they sounded far more like High on Fire, which I agreed with. Really, I think this just points to the amount of influence on this record. The best part, though, is that Dark Ages doesn't sound like a tribute album, nor does it a shameful ripoff. Bison B.C. integrates their influences into a kick-ass form of sludge metal that is by far the best thing on the market today.

Recommended songs: "Two-Day Booze," "Take the Next Exit," "Wendigo Pt. 3"


8. The Crown- Doomsday King:

I'm ashamed to admit that it was only on my fifth or so listen of this brilliant record that I noticed the similarities between The Crown and The Haunted. Obviously, they were both from Gothenberg; so what? Well, pretty much any band that comes from Gohenburg has that 'Gotheburg sound.' It was just much more subtle in Doomsday King, I guess.

This album is a raging death/thrash assault. First of all, the foundation of this record is thrash metal (particularly ripping thrash, at that). Layer on there some blastbeats and death growls and you got an album! Of course, this record has some killer death metal sections as well, but like I said, this is mostly thrash with some melodic death influence to boot. The songs do kind of blend in with each other, but there are some pretty memorable songs, too.

Recommended songs: title track, "Blood O.D.," "Desolation Domain," "Through the Eyes of Oblivion," "From the Ashes I Shall return," "To Light"

12-28-2010, 10:43 PM

7. Black Breath- Heavy Breathing

Black Breath isn't like other Swedish death-influenced grind/hardcore (e.g. Trap Them, Nails, The Secret, Early Graves, etc.). First of all, there's no grind whatsoever- it's all hardcore. Second, while the other bands merely take influence from bands like Dismember and Entombed in their riffs, Black Breath clearly rip those bands off.

Here's Black Breath's songwriting strategy: lay down a nice d-beat hardcore song and then put some Entombed riffs in. On some of the songs like "I Am Beyond" and "Virus," the riffs are more subtle. The buzzsaw sound is present, but the band is merely riding the riff and for all intents and purposes, you're listening to a hardcore song. Then there's songs like "Black Sin (Spit on the Cross" and "Escape from Death" where the riffs are definitely not subtle and aside from the fact that the frontman is doing hardcore shouts and there's some d-beat drumming, you're listening to an Entombed song. No doubt about it.

Now, I'm sure I just made this band sound completely unoriginal. Well, fuck that. They may not be the most original band on the market, but the way that they are organizing their clever rip-off scheme is original. Plus, it's a fun record.

Recommended songs: "Black Sin," "Escape from Death," "Wewhocannotbenamed"


6. Melechesh- The Epigenesis

I'm not gonna lie, I don't really know how to describe this band's sound. Black metal? Sort of, but not exactly. Melodic black metal? A lot of people have said that, but I don't really see how. Then again, I don't really listen to melodic black metal.

Okay, so let's go with melodic black metal, then. Well, Melechesh is from the Middle East, and supposedly they have some folk influence. Well, aside from the two boring Nile-esque instrumental tracks, I don't really see the folk. But honestly, it's a shame that I don't know how to describe the sound of this album. It's sorta thrashy, I guess, and at times a bit death-metal-ish, too... And unlike most black metal, the production on this album is amazing. And that's not just in regards to other black metal- this album's production is actually really damn good :cool:

Look- just listen to it. Okay? At least to one song. Do me a favor, because I have no idea whatsoever how to describe these guys. NO! Fuck that- you'll be doing yourself a favor by listening to them :D

EDIT: I've got it. It's avant-garde black metal. When the foundation is clearly black metal, but it's a pretty big deviation from the standard black metal sound (e.g. Cobalt). That being said, however, I don't know of any other bands that sound quite like Melechesh. I think that's where the real problem lies...

Recommended songs: "Sacred Geometry," "The Magicians and The Drones," "Defeating the Giants," "Negative Theology"


5. Landmine Marathon- Sovereign Descent

This is another band whose sound I cannot describe very well. I'm gonna try to make this quick, though: modern-day death/grind with heavy Bolt Thrower influence and female vocals.

Anyways, this album is pretty awesome. It sounds like nothing else I've heard before (established above) and is just a maniacal assault on the ears. There's a bunch of different influences, too. Ironically, the two most popular songs on the album, "Exist" and "Shadows Fed To Tyrants," are by far the weakest in my opinion. In fact, the second half of the album is much, much better than the first half with the possible exception of the third song, "Cruel Policy." That song is simply amazing, probably one of my top five songs this year if I made a list (and maybe I should... :hmm:)

Recommended songs: "Cruel Policy," "Justify The Suffering," "Steadfast Hate," "Chained by The Same Fate"

*I get a lot of albums from my brother's iTunes. Oftentimes, I think iTunes screws up the transfer process. Up until tonight, I was not aware that there were nine tracks on this album. So excuse me*

12-29-2010, 08:32 PM
You're gonna have to forgive me guys, my review for album #3 is on my dad's laptop, so I'm only posting up #4 tonight. It should be a good one though, I doubt many of you have heard it.


4. haarp- The Filth

First things first. I HATE doom. Cannot fucking stand it one bit. Yet I simply adore this album. And, frankly, I have no idea why. I mean, from what I've read online, it's not even that original or anything.

These guys are from New Orleans. You may not know any of the members (I don't think their old projects were very well-known) but Phil Anselmo produced this bad boy and even released it himself on his own record label. It of course has the dirty NOLA sludge sound; that should be expected.

The songs here are mostly 8 minutes long a piece, and yes, they all sound the same. Yet they all sound awesome, so I can forgive the band this time :party: There are enough fast parts to keep me interested, too. And from what I remember, the drumming is pretty sick.

Basically, this album sounds like you're being dragged through the swamps of Louisiana with a 50-foot cinder block on your back after being chained to a tree as the winds of Hurricane Katrina rip you apart limb from limb. In the best way possible, of course ;)


Now that I think about it, I'm gonna post up some of my honorable mentions. I think the traditional way is to post the honorable mentions after the entire list is posted, but fuck that, we're all nonconformist metalheads here ;)

Cardiac Arrest- Haven for the Insane

nice slab of OSDM (old school death metal). All the songs sound the same and they're barely memorable, but the guitar tone is wicked.

Nails- Unsilent Death

awesome grind/hardcore in the vein of Trap Them, Early Graves, The Secret, etc. A bunch of sick Dismember riffs as well. Alas, this record is only 14 minutes so I can't in good conscience put it on my list.

Trash Talk- Eyes and Nines

Initially I avoided this band because I knew that a lot of people my age like them (I was 17 at the time). But that was a mistake. Look, there comes a time where we all have to admit that deathcore fans would probably like the music we listen to if they were introduced to it. They're just too lazy to seek it out.

Anyways, this is very tasty hardcore. Very fun record. Also, you know how most grind/hardcore bands these days usually have one song on their album that's just a doom song? It's like a obligatory tradition for them, it seems. Anyways, Trash Talk pull of one of the best doom songs I've heard from a grind/hardcore band (the best being Trap Them's "Mission Convincers," of course). You'll know when it you hear it.

Like Nails, I couldn't in good conscience put this record on my list because of the length. I feel particularly guilty about it, too. I've listened to this album about 20 times since this summer. The first time I listened, I knew it was going on my end-of-the-year list. I just knew it.

more honorable mentions coming up later.

12-31-2010, 04:12 PM
Okay, some more honorable mentions:

Immolation- Majesty and Decay

As far as death metal, this isn't very accessible. Still, it's fairly enjoyable. The bass on "The Purge" is sick :horns:

Infanticide- From Our Cold, Dead Hands

This is actually one of my favorite grind releases of the year. It has the Swedish Grind sound but it's a lot more brutal. Still, I'm sure I've heard this before... :eyes:

Ludicra- The Tenant

Pretty avant-garde black metal. Very, very captivating. "The Truth Will Set You Free" is amazing.
Strangely enough, the style of this album is very similar to that of my #1 album.

Cancer Bats- Bears, Mayors, Scraps, and Bones

Man, what an album. I'm serious, this is some awesome hardcore/metal. As pissed off as it sounds, it has a carefree emotion to it, like its just going with the flow. It's heavy, but it's not brutal; it's fun. A fun record, for sure.

Masakari- The Prophet Feeds

Cancer Bats may have been carefree, but these guys are pissed off. This album is pretty sludgy as well. Very interesting album, pretty kickass hardcore.

01-02-2011, 05:57 PM
And the last three:


3. Early Graves- Goner

Early Graves is not just another Entombed-influenced grind/hardcore band. Rather, they are one of the more original ones in the scene. Comparisons to Trap Them are inevitable; however, Early Graves offers something more. While Trap Them cuts right to the chase and wastes no time ripping peoples’ faces off with their furious brand of grindcore, Early Graves focuses on actually creating songs, songs that will lure you back again and again.

On top of the brutally vicious Dismember-gone-grind riffage, they throw on a plethora of crust and thrash riffs, to boot. There is not a lack of breakdowns here in Goner, but Early Graves do breakdowns right. You don’t think to yourself, “Godammit, they had to put a fucking breakdown here;” you probably don’t think anything. The breakdowns feel part of the song itself, not just a random thing thrown in for good measure. In black metal, the weak production is supposed to create a feeling of atmopshere; I cannot vouch for the fact that the weak production (the album is recorded in Mono) in Goner contributes anything. Still, it doesn’t take anything away from it.

Sadly, their frontman, Makh Daniels, died in a fatal car accident a few months ago. I can already hear the smart guys shouting in unison: “Zomg, their name is Early Graves! How ironic lolololololololol!!!!” But in all seriousness, this album does feel like Makh’s final goodbye. If you listen closely, you can really hear the agony in his yells, the agony of being so painfully aware of his own fleeting mortality. It is truly a shame that such an artist had to die so young; his potential was still so great, even on a fantastic album such as Goner. Mr. Daniels, you are a legend in my eyes.

Recommended tracks: Goner, Faith is Shit, Give Up...and pretty much everything else, to be honest.


2. High on Fire- Snakes For the Divine
I’ve had quite a history with this album. High on Fire has been one of my favorite bands for a while, so when this album started streaming on Myspace, I chose to ignore it. The Tuesday it came out, I drove over to Best Buy after school. In fact, I did this the next three days (it never occurred to me to just call them to see if they had the CD in stock). I finally got it the next weekend at the mall.

The first time I listened, I thought it was decent. Yet it began to grow on me, and soon enough, I started to love it. But then I took a long break from this album, and during the absence, I began convinced, for whatever reason, that this album sucked.

The next time I gave this album a spin, I realized that I still did love it. However, after this, every time I played this album I changed my mind on it. One time I loved it, one time I hated it; one time I just sorta liked it, one time I thought it pretty unremarkable. And so it goes.

Even so, I remain in love with the first two tracks. The eight-minute title track begins with one of the most bonerrific riffs ever created in my honest opinion, and then transitions into an epic stoner-doom anthem, courtesy of Matt Pike himself. “Frost Hammer” is a mini-epic, wedged into a mere six minutes. I was first introduced to this song on the Mastodon/Dethklok tour. It is a great song indeed. The psychedelic vocals are awesome, too.

The rest of the album ranges from decent to very good. “How Dark We Pray” is a doomy motherfucker. “Bastard Samuari” also starts out doomy but speeds up near the end. In contrast, “Fire, Flood, and Plague” and “Ghost Neck” are fun, but kinda lame too. I can’t explain it.

In my experience, most people hate this album. There are people out there who like it, but I don’t think there’s many people out there that absolutely love it, either. One of the biggest complaints is the production, courtesy of the mastermind behind Death Magnetic, Greg Fidelman. I’m not very adept to production, but I do kinda notice some things about this album. At times, it lacks oomph. Also, the volume randomly changes a bunch of times. WTF is up with that?

The other complaint is that Matt Pike is running out of ideas. That I definitely do not agree with. This album is probably the most creative and diverse HOF albums I've heard.

Anyways, I do enjoy this album very much. At times I do feel ashamed of liking it so much, especially because my brother and my best friend hate it so passionately. Still, I would probably rank it right behind Death is This Communion.

Recommended tracks: title track, Frost Hammer, Bastard Samurai, How Dark We Pray, The Path


1. Woe- Quietly, Undramatically

To this day it simply amazes me how someone like myself, who pretty much hates black metal, can love this particular black metal album, yet be completely opposed to other albums of the genre (and trust me, I've heard a LOT of black metal albums this year). I mean, it’s not that original. Honestly, I guess Woe just speaks to me in a weird way.

Being as I’m not a huge black metal fan, I doubt I can describe this album very well. It has lots of atmosphere, but it’s not over-the-top, either. It can be pretty brutal at times but also slightly avant-garde (for example, there are clean vocals- freakin' awesome ones at that- on the title track). If I had to make a comparison, I suppose I would liken it to Ludicra’s recent effort The Tenant.

Ever since I heard this album I haven’t been able to stop listening to it. Sure, the production isn’t great, but what black metal isn’t? The important thing here is that the album still manages to be awesome in spite of its pitfalls. Seriously, there is not one song on here I dislike. No other album this year has made such an impact on me this year than Quietly, Undramatically (which is pretty amazing in itself, being as I only started listening to it two weeks ago). Highly recommended.

Recommended tracks: Wait for it...all of them :cool:

01-02-2011, 09:45 PM
some more honorable mentions.

Triptykon- Eparistera Daimonos

The first time I heard this album, I wasn't impressed. I hadn't touched it until my brother bought it a week ago. It was in the car already, so I thought, why the hell not? WOW. This shit is HEAVY. It's a little on the weird side, though. Not a bad thing, but I can't get into it as much as others can.

Ghost- Opus Eponymous

Perhaps the "Traditional metal" tag threw me off... I was expecting something like Maiden or Priest (not that those bands are bad, obviously, but I don't want to hear new bands doing what they did. Naturally, this does not apply to thrash). But no. This stuff is trippy and psychedelic as hell. The vocals are definitely offbeat but for some odd reason I like them a lot. Check out the song "Death's Kneel."