PDA

View Full Version : Natrlhi's 2010 Year-End Best-of List Orgy


Natrlhi
01-01-2011, 11:09 AM
So...since my top ten has been posted in the official voting thread, and my top twenty (plus honourable mentions) has been posted at Jukebox:Metal, it only makes sense to get this party started. I'll start off with the top twenty in list form, and then I'll go back and eventually post the entire list with mini-reviews for each from the bottom up like most folks normally do. My top three have reviews attached to them already on Jukebox:Metal, so I'll post those here now, too.

Later on, I'll be posting other lists such as Best Live Events, Best Individual Performances and some new shit this year that I've been contemplating. Also, I think I'm going to break out the non-metal albums this year from the rest of my list, because it is getting more and more difficult for me to rank albums like Chemical Brothers against Unleashed and Man's Gin against Hail of Bullets. It's just too apples-and-oranges for me, and somehow it doesn't make sense - but trust and believe that the awesome albums I've listened to in the non-metal genres will get their moments in the spotlight somewhere in this thread. :fist:

So here's the top twenty:


http://www.brokenbeard.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/high-on-fire-snakes-for-the-divine-300x300.jpg
1. High On Fire - Snakes For The Divine (Century Media)

Click here to jump to the end of this thread for a full review of this album. (http://www.metalsetlists.com/showpost.php?p=351436&postcount=55)

http://shop.relapse.com/dbimages/sleeves/52670_216.jpg
2. Ludicra - The Tenant (Profound Lore)

Click here to jump to the end of this thread for a full review of this album. (http://www.metalsetlists.com/showpost.php?p=351436&postcount=55)


http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_-2Yht5KS6bk/S73njm-E7fI/AAAAAAAABy0/dZYdD4FDfxU/s320/theocean.jpg
3. The Ocean - Heliocentric (Metal Blade)

Click here to jump to the end of this thread for a full review of this album. (http://www.metalsetlists.com/showpost.php?p=351436&postcount=55)

4. IntrOnaut – Valley of Smoke (Century Media)
5. Lair of the Minotaur – Evil Power (Southern Lord)
6. Red Sparowes – The Fear Is Excruciating, But Therein Lies The Answer (Conspiracy Records)
7. Julie Christmas – The Bad Wife (Rising Pulse Records)
8. Triptykon – Eparistera Daimones (Century Media)
9. Kvelertak – Kvelertak (Indie Recordings)
10. Kylesa – Spiral Shadow (Season of Mist)
11. Nachtmystium – Addicts: Black Meddle Pt. II (Candlelight Records) Review (http://www.jukeboxmetal.com/2010/nachtmystium-addicts-black-meddle-pt.ii/)
12. Howl – Full of Hell (Relapse Records)
13. Landmine Marathon – Sovereign Descent (Prosthetic Records)
14. Unleashed – As Yggdrasil Trembles (Nuclear Blast) Review (http://www.jukeboxmetal.com/2010/unleashed-as-yggdrasil-trembles/)
15. No Hawaii – Snake My Charms (self-published) Review (http://www.jukeboxmetal.com/2010/no-hawaii-snake-my-charms/)
16. Karma to Burn – Appalachian Incantation (Napalm Records)
17. God Is an Astronaut – Age of the Fifth Sun (Revive Records)
18. Aeon – Path of Fire (Metal Blade)
19. Deathspell Omega – Paracletus (Norma Evangelium Diaboli)
20. Atheist – Jupiter (Season of Mist)

Honourable Mentions: Watain, Cloudkicker, Shining, Lightning Swords of Death, Gifts From Enola

(Artwork, reviews and all that other good stuff for the above will be forthcoming soon.)

idrinkwine732
01-01-2011, 06:12 PM
Surprised by the placement of quite a few of these, actually. High on Fire at 1, no Cloudkicker, GIAA at 17. You always know how to throw us a curveball, Nat.

ravenheart
01-04-2011, 10:03 AM
Needs more variety ;)

Natrlhi
01-04-2011, 09:08 PM
Needs more variety ;)

You're absolutely right. I've only represented post-metal (The Ocean, No Hawaii, Gifts from Enola), stoner metal (High on Fire, Karma to Burn), black metal (Ludicra, Nachtmystium, Triptykon, Deathspell Omega, Watain, Lightning Swords of Death), post-rock (Red Sparowes, God Is an Astronaut), death metal (Lair of the Minotaur, Aeon), grindcore (Landmine Marathon), Viking metal (Unleashed), technical / progressive (Atheist, IntrOnaut, Shining, Cloudkicker), sludge (Kylesa, Howl, Kvelertak) and whatever the fuck you'd classify Julie Christmas as (how about :eek:-metal?)...that's obviously a pretty narrow list. :lol:

...and it's not even complete yet. :D

Natrlhi
01-04-2011, 09:15 PM
Surprised by the placement of quite a few of these, actually. High on Fire at 1, no Cloudkicker, GIAA at 17. You always know how to throw us a curveball, Nat.I was as surprised as anyone to see High on Fire at #1 - seriously. If you read my reviews of that and Ludicra, though - you,ll understand better. Snakes for the Divine is just such an ass-kicker and so consistent...I played it so fucking much this past year there's just no way I couldn't put it at #1 without being a total fucking hypocrite, as strongly as I feel about Ludicra (which is the exact same thing that happened in 2008 with Burst and Meshuggah).

...and Cloudkicker was a late entry for me. Given more time, it would have been higher for sure. GIAA may not have placed in my top ten, but it's in my top twenty...and my list is gonna have around fifty albums in it, so that's not a low ranking whatsoever. Have patience, my friend. More will be revealed, as they say... ;)

ravenheart
01-05-2011, 02:28 AM
You're absolutely right. I've only represented post-metal (The Ocean, No Hawaii, Gifts from Enola), stoner metal (High on Fire, Karma to Burn), black metal (Ludicra, Nachtmystium, Triptykon, Deathspell Omega, Watain, Lightning Swords of Death), post-rock (Red Sparowes, God Is an Astronaut), death metal (Lair of the Minotaur, Aeon), grindcore (Landmine Marathon), Viking metal (Unleashed), technical / progressive (Atheist, IntrOnaut, Shining, Cloudkicker), sludge (Kylesa, Howl, Kvelertak) and whatever the fuck you'd classify Julie Christmas as (how about :eek:-metal?)...that's obviously a pretty narrow list. :lol:

...and it's not even complete yet. :D

Aren't those all the same? ;)

Natrlhi
01-05-2011, 07:35 AM
Aren't those all the same? ;)

If by "the same", you mean "not this":

01. Iron Maiden - The Final Frontier
02. Accept - Blood Of The Nations
03. Heathen - The Evolution Of Chaos
04. Sahg - III
05. Nevermore - The Obsidian Conspiracy
06. Death Angel - Relentless Retribution
07. Blind Guardian - At The Edge Of Time
08. Gamma Ray - To The Metal!
09. Darkwater - Where Stories End
10. Grand Magus - Hammer Of The North


Honorable Mention:
11. Votum - Metafiction
12. Overkill - Ironbound
13. Vanden Plas - Seraphic Clockwork
14. Circle II Circle - Consequence Of Power
15. Helloween - 7 Sinners

...then, yes. ;)

ravenheart
01-05-2011, 08:03 AM
yes. ;)

Thought so ;)

es156
01-05-2011, 05:26 PM
If by "the same", you mean "not this":



...then, yes. ;)

What, exactly, are you trying to say?

:allan:

ADD
01-06-2011, 03:50 PM
Kvelertak is whack ;)

Natrlhi
01-06-2011, 03:53 PM
What, exactly, are you trying to say?

:allan:

http://theurbandaily.com/files/2010/09/Nut-n-Honey-Cereal.jpg(minus)http://stores.intuitwebsites.com/hstrial-JMartAsianFoo/catalog/nestle%20crunch.jpg

Natrlhi
01-06-2011, 03:55 PM
Kvelertak is whack ;)http://mixunit.com/ProductImages/clothing4/you-wack_B.gif

Natrlhi
01-07-2011, 09:56 AM
Surprised by the placement of quite a few of these, actually. GIAA at 17You had it at #18 on your list.
http://files.redux.com/images/157888c5b8bf86a4d853e36c3c178a38/raw

ADD
01-07-2011, 12:20 PM
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v21/boltthrow/gif%202/1279704645_sharktopus.gif

Natrlhi
01-07-2011, 12:23 PM
OK, so enough clowning around. Let's get on with some relevant "Best of 2010" shit, shall we?

The next couple of posts I'll make are regarding the live shows I saw this year. It wasn't as prolific a year for me as 2009 was, for instance, but a very big part of that was my wife being pregnant and the arrival of our second child in June. Quite frankly, it's amazing I was able to attend as many shows as I did, and I'm not complaining one bit. :fist:

The first list is simply a forced ranking of all the shows I attended this year, with some comments for each. After that, I'll post the Top Ten Shows I Missed in 2010, and the Top 25 Live Performances of 2010.

1. 3/13/10 – Scion Rock Fest: Landmine Marathon, Struck by Lightning, Pelican, Voivod, Cannibal Corpse (Columbus, OH) Set Lists / Gig Reports (http://www.metalsetlists.com/showthread.php?t=12801)
What a fucking lineup, for one. Hell, many of the bands I had to miss are just as awesome as the ones I saw...Ludicra, Shrinebuilder, Trap Them, Black Anvil... Not to mention that every single performance I saw was awesome. All of them made my "Top 25 Live Performances of 2010" list. All of them. Not one band that I saw put on a phoned-in set. Even though the ticket price was absolutely fucking free, every one of these bands played like they were auditioning for Metal Band of the Year. How can you beat a gig like this? Simple - you can't. :fist:

2. 4/3/10 – High on Fire / Priestess / Black Cobra / Bison B.C. – Skully’s (Columbus, OH) Gig Report (http://www.metalsetlists.com/showthread.php?t=13007)
There must be something in the water at Skully's. Second best show of the year, same location as #1. Anyhow, I pretty much knew on the car ride going down to Cbus that I was in for a hell of a night, because I'm a fan of all four bands that played this show. I had seen High on Fire before, was madly looking forward to finally catching Bison, and hadn't seen Black Cobra or Priestess yet. All four bands destroyed. It's that simple. Plus, even though Pike had a few "duh" moments because he was obviously pretty stoned out of his head, I think this was the best sets I've ever seen High on Fire play, and that's saying a lot. Sweet fucking show. :rocker:

3. 1/20/10 – Nile / Immolation / Krisiun / Dreaming Dead – Peabody’s (Cleveland, OH) Gig Report (http://www.metalsetlists.com/showthread.php?t=12331)
Holy shit. Nile. Live. Holy fucking shit. It doesn't get any heavier than this. In fact, at one point, I was down in the front of the pit with some other guys and we were jokingly shouting out comments like "Now play something down-tuned!", to which Dallas laughed and said "yeah, how about fucking Z?". :lol: Later, I shouted out "now play something heavy!" and he got all serious and said "It doesn't get any fucking heavier!". God damn right. :fist: Oh, and Krisiun and Immolation fucking destroyed, too. Plus, Dreaming Dead fully converted me as a fan that night as well. These cats are the real deal - fuck the haters. Lots of awesome shit went down at this show...so much so, that it could have easily been #1 if it weren't for the two other behemoth gigs above.

4. 4/18/10 – Red Sparowes / Caspian / Fang Island – Grog Shop (Cleveland, OH) Gig Report (http://www.metalsetlists.com/showthread.php?t=13198)
You have no idea how much I was anticipating this show. Seriously. No. Fucking. Idea. Now, normally, having high expectations can fuck me up in cases like this, but luckily for me, Red Sparowes >>> my expactations. Holy shit did these guys (and girl) slay. There's a reason why Red Fucking Sparowes is one of the premiere post-rock bands on the planet, and I found out just why on April 18, 2010. Not to mention that I finally got to see Caspian, and they didn't disappoint either. In fact, I met one of their guitarists Aaron before the show, and he was one of the coolest band members I met last year. Last but not least, I got a major surprise in the form of Fang Island! Holy shit, are these guys good. You owe it to yourself to check out their self-titled debut 2010 album...it's phenomenal.

5. 1/29/10 – Arch Enemy / Exodus / Arsis / Mutiny Within – House of Blues (Chicago, IL) Gig Report (http://www.metalsetlists.com/showthread.php?t=12426)
I saw this show by myself, 350 miles away from home on a frigidly cold night in the Windy City, and even though I missed all but the last song of Arsis's set (and they were one of the reasons I wanted to see this show), this gig still fucking rocked. First off, Exodus was great. I've been a fan of theirs since the early 80's, and I saw them once or twice back in the day, but frankly they had slipped off my radar screen for a decade or two. Their set was brutal, heavy and full of energy. Then, the mighty Arch Enemy took the stage and brought the fucking roof down. The crowd was so into this show - guys and girls alike moshing and crowd surfing like fucking crazy...it was simply...awesome.

6. 12/1/10 – Watain / Goatwhore / Black Anvil – Peabody’s (Cleveland, OH) Gig Report (http://www.metalsetlists.com/showthread.php?t=15460)
Those of you who read my recently-posted review of this gig know that I was deeply affected by what I saw during Watain's set. That alone would probably be enough to explain the high placement of this show on this list - but the fact is, Black Anvil was awesome (they were half the reason I was there, and they did not disappoint), and so was Goatwhore (who I've never really cared about all that much, but have always respected). Then, add on top of an awesome group of openers the single most intense live performance I've seen in a long time, with some of the sickest shit I've ever witnessed going on in the background (i.e., their stage "ritual"), and brother, you've got yourself one hell of an unfuckingforgettable show.

7. 8/3/10 – Primus / Gogol Bordello / The Dead Kenny G’s – Tower City Amphitheater (Cleveland, OH) Gig Report (http://www.metalsetlists.com/showthread.php?t=14266)
Let's be honest. I didn't even see the openers, and I could have cared less. I showed up just in time to see Primus, and that's the only reason I was there. And they fucking owned my ass, and the asses of every other motherfucker in the Time Warner Amphitheater that night. Plus, they played "Fistcuffs" for the first time on the tour that night, as well as "Mr. Krinkle", which might be one of the best individual songs I've seen performed live all year. :fist: This band is just phenomenal live. End of story. I finally got to see Primus after being a fan for almost twenty years, and it cost me ten fucking dollars. You can't beat that shit with a stick, son.

8. 12/8/10 – The Sword / Karma to Burn / Mount Carmel – House of Blues (Cleveland, OH) Gig Report (http://www.metalsetlists.com/showthread.php?t=15509)
Expectations were set to medium for this show. I was really anticipating seeing Karma to Burn, and to me, The Sword was going to be a bonus. I missed Mount Carmel, unfortunately, but all the same, this was a great show. Karma came out and completely rocked our faces off. I think about half the folks in the HoB that night knew them, and the other half became instant fans. Then, The Sword came on and surpassed my expectations as well. Lots of moshing and fan participation made this show all the more fun. At the end of the night, I left with a sore neck and big, stupid fucking smile on my face. 'Nuff said.

9. 9/13/10 – Caspian / If These Trees Could Talk / Like Bells – Beachland Tavern (Cleveland, OH) Gig Report (http://www.metalsetlists.com/showthread.php?t=14628)
This was my second time seeing Caspian last year, and my second time seeing Trees play. Having seen these two outfits before, I was slightly apprehensive that I might be disappointed by one or the other, but...nope! Trees ripped out a set that was just as awesome as I had remembered from their gig with Gifts from Enola last year, and Caspian played with even more intensity than they did when I saw them open for Red Sparowes just a few months before. In fact, they played a slightly longer set, too, because they were headlining this show. I missed Like Bells, unfortunately, but overall, this was still an awesome gig.

10. 9/9/10 – Fu Manchu / Black Tusk / It’s Casual / Venomin James – Grog Shop (Cleveland, OH) Gig Report (http://www.metalsetlists.com/showthread.php?t=14603)
This show was pretty awesome, but for reasons I really didn't expect. It was one of several shows that I saw all by my lonesome last year, and I just sneaked off down to the Grog on a night when I found myself unexpectedly free and saw a cheap gig just for the hell of it. I was looking forward to Black Tusk, and they did not disappoint - but what I had no idea about was how entertaining the headliner was going to be. Admittedly, I had never listened to much of Fu Manchu's stuff, but they won me over that night with their party attitude and riffy goodness. I missed the two openers, because like I said, this was a last-minute thing for me, but I still had a shitload of fun. :D

11. 4/10/10 – Mouth of the Architect / Mockingbird / Red Sun – Now That’s Class (Lakewood, OH) Gig Report (http://www.metalsetlists.com/showthread.php?t=13086)
I went to this show thinking I'd like the headliner only, and the openers would be kinda meh. I was wrong (click on gig report above for details). Not only were the openers pretty good, but MotA blew me away with a truly awesome set of post-metal heavosity. They even played a song I requested when they found themselves with an extra few minutes at the end of their set. Can't beat that! Plus, I met Steve Brooks before the show and talked to him at length, and he was another one of the coolest band members I met last year. This was a great little gig - small, but cool. :cool:

12. 6/4/10 – Dying Fetus / Arsis / Misery Index / AOAA / CFTG – Peabody’s (Cleveland, OH) Gig Report (http://www.metalsetlists.com/showthread.php?t=13690)
Went to this show to see Arsis, enjoyed Dying Fetus and Misery Index as well. This was actually my second time seeing Misery Index, and both times I came away with the same question: "why don't I have any of their albums?" They're pretty damn good. Dying Fetus was the same way - only I knew beforehand I was going to like them, because they had impressed the hell out of me the previous year at Summer Slaughter. Love 'em or hate 'em, they are heavy as fuck and their riffs are very engaging. Arsis was simply awesome. That band is so underrated, in my opinion. Such good musicians, and such nice guys. Fun show.

13. 10/13/10 – Triptykon / 1349 / Yakuza – Grog Shop (Cleveland, OH)
This was a weird show. First of all, I wanted to see Yakuza but wasn't able to get there in time, so that sucked for me. Then, this was one of several shows around this time frame where 1349 and Triptykon had switched places (with 1349 actually headlining), so since I was at this show alone and it was a work night and I really had not that much interest in seeing 1349, I just skipped their set. So basically, I showed up late - just in time for Triptykon - and then I left. It was pretty cool and all, and actually Triptykon gave one of the best individual performances I saw all year, but that was it. Nothing else noteworthy happened at this show, and because of that and the fact that the set list was essentially the same as several other shows on this tour, I never got around to posting a set list or gig report. Great performance, very nostalgic for me, but one of my "least awesome" show experiences of the year. Maybe if I had arrived earlier and / or stayed later, I'd have a better story for this one.

14. 11/18/10 – Cannibal Corpse / Dying Fetus / Vital Remains / Devourment – Peabody’s (Cleveland, OH)
This show was even weirder than the above one. Basically, I had wanted to check this show out, but had no one to go with. I chose to play poker with some of my peeps from work, and I think I got put out of the tournament earlier than usual, so on the way home, I decided to stop by Peabody's and see who was yet to play. When I approached the front door, the guy with the wristbands was talking to some chicks or something and not paying attention to me (presumably because the show was almost over and anybody coming in was just re-entering after having a smoke), so I just walked in to see who was playing. Cannibal Corpse (the headliner) was setting up. I decided I wasn't going to go back to the door and try to get the dude to take my money when he didn't seem to care about doing his job and I was only going to get to see one band anyway, so I just stayed put and watched Cannibal Corpse play roughly the same set as when I saw them at Scion Rock Fest, and then I just left. I gotta say, Cannibal Corpse was pretty awesome the first time I saw them, but when they play almost the exact same set - and even make most of the same jokes - the next time around, it's not all that interesting.

jhdeity
01-07-2011, 04:59 PM
Great reviews man. I enjoy the stories that go along with the shows. Setlists are cool but the stories and crazy shit are every bit as important at a show to me.

If nothing else I really regret missing some bands listed or not being into those bands at the time. There is no excuse for me to not be a hardcore Misery Index fan. My friend is a big Misery Signals fan and I think wasn't giving a great band credit by confusing the two. I actually like both bands but Misery Index are very high on my "must see" list now.

Dextrimental
01-07-2011, 05:02 PM
Did Mouth of the architect play generation of ghosts?

treghet
01-08-2011, 12:23 AM
Great reviews man. I enjoy the stories that go along with the shows. Setlists are cool but the stories and crazy shit are every bit as important at a show to me.

Definitely agree. That's part of why I love Nat's reviews. I mean I like to know how well the band played and all that, but personal experiences and feelings are what make it really interesting.

Natrlhi
01-08-2011, 08:08 AM
Did Mouth of the architect play generation of ghosts?I go to all the trouble to add hyperlinks to every gig report I've done in the last year, and you can't even be bothered to click on one of them?!?

YE BE KELLIN' ME, MAHN!!!

:mad: :bouville: :mad:



No, but seriously, they didn't play "Generation of Ghosts". Wish they had, but as you know their songs are long and they had already played a full hour or more. At least we got "Hate and Heartache" and "A Beautiful Corpse" (as a mash-up with "A Vivid Chaos" :rocker:). I love "Quietly", don't you? It's MotA's masterpiece at the moment. :bliss:

EDIT: It would have been extra awesome if they had played "Generation of Ghosts" and Julie Christmas were to have popped out from backstage to do her vocal parts. :lovedup:

mankvill
01-08-2011, 02:51 PM
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v21/boltthrow/gif%202/1279704645_sharktopus.gif

my thoughts exactly

Dextrimental
01-08-2011, 04:08 PM
I go to all the trouble to add hyperlinks to every gig report I've done in the last year, and you can't even be bothered to click on one of them?!?

YE BE KELLIN' ME, MAHN!!!

:mad: :bouville: :mad:



No, but seriously, they didn't play "Generation of Ghosts". Wish they had, but as you know their songs are long and they had already played a full hour or more. At least we got "Hate and Heartache" and "A Beautiful Corpse" (as a mash-up with "A Vivid Chaos" :rocker:). I love "Quietly", don't you? It's MotA's masterpiece at the moment. :bliss:

EDIT: It would have been extra awesome if they had played "Generation of Ghosts" and Julie Christmas were to have popped out from backstage to do her vocal parts. :lovedup:

Haha sorry, I was really tired last night so I just seen Mouth of the Architect, typed my comment, then passed out! But yeah, Quietly is amazing, I would love to hear any of it live., but Generation is my favorite, so dark and haunting. I would imagine, in a small venue, dim lighting and the right kinda backdrop these guys would be heavier than any death metal band you care to name!

idrinkwine732
01-08-2011, 05:10 PM
You had it at #18 on your list.
http://files.redux.com/images/157888c5b8bf86a4d853e36c3c178a38/raw

I always thought you were much higher on them than me...

Natrlhi
01-12-2011, 01:55 PM
If nothing else I really regret missing some bands listed or not being into those bands at the time.Speaking of which...

Top Ten Missed Shows
1. 5/28/10 - 5/30/10 – Maryland Death Fest: Gorguts, Possessed, D.R.I., Watain, Trap Them, Autopsy, Sodom, Asphyx, Jucifer, Obituary, Entombed, Pestilence, Gorod, Gridlink, 16 …
2. 4/23/10 - 4/24/10 – New England Metal & Hardcore Festival: Mastodon, BTBAM, Baroness, Cro-Mags, Cannibal Corpse, Amon Amarth, Skeletonwitch
3. 12/29/10 – Clutch / Kylesa / Righteous Fool – House of Blues (Cleveland, OH)
4. 7/26/10 – Black Cobra / Howl / Struck By Lightning – The Summit (Columbus, OH)
5. 8/1/10 – Cynic / IntrOnaut / Dysrhythmia – Magic Stick (Detroit, MI)
6. 11/20/10 – Skeletonwitch / Landmine Marathon – Frankie’s (Toledo, OH)
7. 10/10/10 – American Carnage Tour, Leg 2: Slayer / Megadeth / Anthrax – LC Pavilion (Columbus, OH)
8. 10/15/10 – High on Fire / Kylesa / Torche – Grog Shop (Cleveland, OH)
9. 4/7/10 – Weedeater / Black Tusk / Gates of Slumber / Struck By Lightning – Grog Shop (Cleveland, OH)
10. 11/19/10 – Darkest Hour / Veil of Maya / Periphery / Revocation – Peabody’s (Cleveland, OH)


Also, here is a list of the best of the best in terms of live performances by individual bands this year:

Top 25 Live Performances
1. Primus – 8/3/10 – Tower City Amphitheater (Cleveland, OH)
2. Nile – 1/20/10 – Peabody’s (Cleveland, OH)
3. Red Sparowes – 4/18/10 – Grog Shop (Cleveland, OH)
4. High on Fire – 4/3/10 – Skully’s (Columbus, OH)
5. Triptykon – 10/13/10 – Grog Shop (Cleveland, OH)
6. Watain – 12/1/10 – Peabody’s (Cleveland, OH)
7. Voivod – 3/13/10 – (Scion Rock Fest – Columbus, OH)
8. Arch Enemy – 1/29/10 – House of Blues (Chicago, IL)
9. Landmine Marathon – 3/13/10 – (Scion Rock Fest – Columbus, OH)
10. Caspian – 9/13/10 – Beachland Tavern (Cleveland, OH)
11. Pelican – 3/13/10 – (Scion Rock Fest – Columbus, OH)
12. Mouth of the Architect – 4/10/10 – Now That’s Class (Lakewood, OH)
13. Cannibal Corpse – 3/13/10 – (Scion Rock Fest – Columbus, OH)
14. Struck by Lightning – 3/13/10 – (Scion Rock Fest – Columbus, OH)
15. Dreaming Dead – 1/20/10 – Peabody’s (Cleveland, OH)
16. Karma to Burn – 12/8/10 – House of Blues (Cleveland, OH)
17. Fang Island – 4/18/10 – Grog Shop (Cleveland, OH)
18. Exodus – 1/29/10 – House of Blues (Chicago, IL)
19. Bison B.C. – 4/3/10 – Skully’s (Columbus, OH)
20. The Sword – 12/8/10 – House of Blues (Cleveland, OH)
21. Fu Manchu – 9/9/10 – Grog Shop (Cleveland, OH)
22. Priestess – 4/3/10 – Skully’s (Columbus, OH)
23. Black Cobra – 4/3/10 – Skully’s (Columbus, OH)
24. Black Tusk – 9/9/10 – Grog Shop (Cleveland, OH)
25. Arsis – 6/4/10 – Peabody’s (Cleveland, OH)

Natrlhi
02-04-2011, 12:18 PM
All righty then. The level of insanity at work has finally leveled off to "head above water" status, which is as good as it's probably going to get, so let's see if I can't get my album list done in about the next week or two. (The rankings have actually been finalized for quite a while now, I just haven't had time to make the official list with comments for each album.)

Before anybody makes any smart-ass posts about how late it is to be doing this, I offer the following:


You're right. So what. Fuck off. It's my list. Go read about how scary girls are or look at pictures of lasagna if you don't like it. ;)
I didn't get started on last year's list until January 26, but it took me until March 6th to complete - so there's technically still room for improvement over last year's performance. :D
The music I like is much more awesome than the music you like, so you should be honored to even be reading this thread.
In cases where the music I like is the same as the music you like, it is merely a coincidence. My tastes in metal are correct. Yours are merely "randomly accurate at times".
If you're still reading at this point, you're obviously one of the folks who wants to be here, so thanks for reading and enjoy. Sorry it took so long. :snivel:




Natrlhi's Forced Ranking of Fifty-Eight Metal Albums I Listened to Which Were Released in 2010, Several of Which Were Fucking Awesome, Many of Which Were Quite Good, and a Few of Which...Well, Not So Much

Like last year, just a few caveats before I begin:

I included non-metal albums in a separate category this year, as I mentioned previously in this thread.
Live albums, EP's and compilation albums are also in a separate category this year, again as I mentioned previously.
The stuff that I really feel strongly about is in the top thirty or so albums, and the bottom five or so. I didn't stress out too much about the relative ranking of the middle twenty 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.

Oh, and 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 sixty):

Burzum - Belus
Alcest - Écailles de Lune

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://4.bp.blogspot.com/_mTQLYHK9n-s/TADS03mCVII/AAAAAAAASWI/KPSYNvGOqHc/s400/GRAVE(New+CD+2010)_19-05-2010_wm.jpg
58. Grave – Burial Ground
I've said before that if you want to listen to a death metal band that's still around making music today that sounds like old-school Death (music-wise, that is - there is no vocalist that will ever match Chuck), then Grave is your band. I still stand by that statement. The difference is, I still listen to my early Death albums, but every time a new Grave album comes out, I listen to it and say to myself, "yup - sounds like old-school Death", and then that's it. I rarely return. I don't hate this album, there's just not a damn thing about it that makes me want to come back for more.


http://www.nightspirit.no/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/1349-demonoir-cover-300x300.jpg
57. 1349 - Demonoir
I've never really gotten into 1349 before. I listened to this in preparation for their tour with Triptykon. It's OK. Watain kicks 1349's ass all over the place, though - in every conceivable way - and other bands are also capable of the task as well. Oh well, looks like I'm still not a 1349 fan. As Owen Wilson said in "You, Me & Dupree" - we tried, right?


http://dcmetalreview.files.wordpress.com/2010/12/amazon_com-misled-by-certainty-cephalic-carnage-main.jpg
56. Cephalic Carnage - Misled by Certainty
Nothing pisses me off more than technical-for-the-sake-of-technical death metal. OK, that's not true. Many things piss me off a lot more than that, but not many things make me turn around and head the other direction more quickly when it comes to extreme metal. Cephalic Carnage's previous album almost did, but I did like it to at least some degree. Not so much with this one. They went full retard here. It's just a lot of skill without any real reason to come back and listen to it again. Frankly, it makes me just a little sad. This band could be awesome if they had that "je ne sais quoi" that bands like Necrophagist, Origin and a few others possess, but sadly I'm still looking for it with these guys. The silver lining is, at least I'm still looking.


http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_fGgxSutPBps/TJPArqduYeI/AAAAAAAAAiw/sF_evkdhUB8/s320/ihsahn+after.jpg
55. Ihsahn - After
Ah, shit. This one. I don't want to do this one - I really don't. All right, fuck it. Here goes. The music is awesome (most of the time). The vocals fucking destroy this for me. That's it. I was loathe to say it because I'm sure at least someone will assume that I don't like anything with clean vocals in it, but as I've said many times, that's just not the case. I like tons of stuff with clean vocals (The Ocean's "Heliocentric" is this year's #3, for fuck's sake), but when I hear clean vox that sound completely out of place, or don't have a purpose in the song, or sound forced, or are just plain grating to my nerves without any real explanation other than that, then I cringe and turn away. Such is the case with some (and I repeat - SOME) Opeth, and BTBAM, and Enslaved, and a ton of other shit that I'd probably otherwise like. But not this. Sorry, kids - I just couldn't get into this album at all. Satan knows I tried.


http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_BJs8mlnXmKQ/S-R7Sg-BQgI/AAAAAAAAWhU/Blma_y4hMQY/s320/Bran.jpg
54. Brain Drill - Quantum Catastrophe
I wrote a review (http://www.jukeboxmetal.com/2010/brain-drill-quantum-catastrophe/) of this for Jukebox:Metal earlier in the year. Let me try to paraphrase here without looking back: "Good album. Better than their last - in fact, best from them so far. Not bad if you're really a fan of this sub-genre, but there are others in the game who do it much better." Now I'll click on the link and see if I got it right...yup, pretty much nailed it. So, we're done here.


http://www.pinpointmusic.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/melvins_bride1-300x300.jpg
53. Melvins - The Bride Screamed Murder
Oh, Melvins. Why don't I like you guys more? I feel like I should, but I just don't get what you do sometimes. There are flashes of brilliance throughout your catalog of music, including this album. You're kooky. You're wierd. You're different. You're not afraid to take chances, and you don't give a fuck what anybody else thinks. You're talented. I should love you guys...but sadly, I don't. I respect you all day long - and I'll probably even see you live one day - but somehow I just don't see me ever actually owning a Melvins album. I'll keep listening, though - just in case I finally "get it".

Your most humble and apologetic almost-fan,
The Nat


http://forbidden-magazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/V-Album-Art-Promo-300x300.jpg
52. Unearthly Trance - V
I've tried these guys on for size before as well, and nothing ever came of it. Sadly, this album isn't going to change that. I can see the appeal for some folks. It's heavy, dense, sludgy stuff - to be sure. It's like molasses that has lots of long-chain organic stuff in it. It's like a heavy, dense beer such as Guiness. There's a lot floating around in here, and it took some craftsmanship to make it, but it ain't for everybody. Fans of super-sludge - this may your thing - but I'm pretty sure it ain't mine.


http://www.brokenbeard.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/jucifer-throned-in-blood-300x300.jpg
51. Jucifer - Throned in Blood
See also, "Melvins".

This album marks the third time I've tried to fall in love with this band, and the third time the experiment has failed. I totally get why people love them, and I've heard their live performances are the stuff of legend. I will definitely see them live one day - and maybe on that day, I'll finally fall in love. Until then, three strikes and...I don't know what happens after that.

EDIT: Amber definitely gets to stay on my "Females in metal that really BRING IT!!!" list, though - because I've seen videos and she really does fucking bring it.

JRA
02-04-2011, 08:58 PM
is 58-53 supposed to be the worst albums of the year? Cos those got off easy. :eyes:

Fires Of Sedition
02-05-2011, 12:15 AM
They went full retard here.

Never go full retard.

jhdeity
02-05-2011, 10:56 AM
The same way you feel about Ihsahn is the same way I feel about Agalloch most times... just opposite.

Natrlhi
02-06-2011, 03:06 PM
is 58-53 supposed to be the worst albums of the year? Cos those got off easy. :eyes:Of course not. They're the least best of all the stuff I listened to in 2010. I'll change the title of my list just for you, though (see above). ;)


EDIT: Part 2 (#50 through #41) coming soon...stay tuned.

Natrlhi
02-06-2011, 07:50 PM
OK. Here is a compromise - five more now, and five more later...if I stay awake. I'm starting to feel a major case of Chinese disease (dragon ass) coming on here.


http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_xedGg7l5tDo/TK9BACVHaqI/AAAAAAAAARI/QO6EtZqCu5M/s320/US+Christmas+Run.jpg
50. U.S. Christmas - Run Thick in the Night
My first experience with this band was when I saw them open for Baroness in 2009 in Detroit. I was impressed. There were about six or seven people on stage, playing many guitars, a violin and a variety of percussion instruments. They made a wall of sludge that was a force to be reckoned with. On album, however, the sheer scope of what this band does – or perhaps more specifically what they are – is somewhat lost…or at least it is on me anyway. This album just didn’t blow me away like the band themselves did when I saw them live. It’s good stuff – don’t get me wrong – and fans of sludgy bands such as Minsk would do well to take notice.


http://www.progarchives.com/progressive_rock_discography_covers/1749/cover_5352128122009.jpg
49. A Silver Mt. Zion - Kollapse Tradixionales
I really like ASMZ. I was thrilled when I heard they had a new album coming out in 2010. However, after listening to this album a few times, I really didn’t hear anything that grabbed my attention and demanded it such as the track “God Bless Our Dead Marines” from 2005’s “Horses in the Sky”. Such is the conundrum with bands such as ASMZ or their forbears, Godspeed You! Black Emperor. Hooks are not what they do. It’s all about emotion and atmosphere with bands like this. Their songs often develop slowly, and sometimes there isn’t a whole lot going on. I’m a fan of this style sometimes, but still there has to be something on an album which just grabs me and doesn’t let me forget to come back for more. That didn’t really happen with this album.


http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_fSiQJ2n5D40/TRM_a5F3KUI/AAAAAAAAAfs/DbBSgXOicfA/s320/WITHERED.jpg
48. Withered - Dualitas
Like U.S. Christmas - and many other bands - my first experience with Withered was at a live show of theirs (opening for The Ocean in 2008). As with USX, I was impressed. My thoughts at the time were that I had never heard a band quite like Withered before, and to this day, that assessment still holds. At their core, I suppose they are a black metal band, but they definitely exhibit a heavy post-rock influence as well. Their previous two albums have been critically acclaimed, and there is no reason to believe this one won’t be as well. Every time I listen to this album, I uncover more and more to like. It’s heavy, dense and extreme – as well as very well-executed and well-produced.


http://forbidden-magazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/zoroaster.jpg
47. Zoroaster - Matador
I have to laugh here at this point. The arrangement of this list has nothing to do with the following statement, I swear. My first real experience with Zoroaster was seeing them live opening for Burst (sound familiar? :lol:). The thing I’ll always remember about Zoroaster from that show is how incredibly LOUD they were (are). They are also as heavy as a lead shot put – ten feet in diameter – on Jupiter. On album, this is my first real listen to them, and I have to say I’m impressed. All of the howling, doomy, riffy, stoner-y, sludgy goodness I remember from that first night in Detroit is present and accounted for on “Matador”. Recommended for fans of Sleep, Acid Bath and Eyehategod.


http://temporaryresidence.com/images/coliseum/house-with-a-curse/coliseum-house-with-a-curse.jpg
46. Coliseum - House with a Curse
What to say about this one? Well, how about this – I’m almost ready to reprise the open letter to Melvins and do yet another take on the same theme, but let’s face it…Coliseum just isn’t in the same category as Melvins in terms of status – at least, not yet. However, if they keep making albums like this – coupled with their literally relentless touring work ethic – it won’t be long. I’ve missed or passed on numerous opportunities to see Coliseum play live, and based on this album I think that’s about to change soon. There is a bit of a groove here that beckons me back for more. It’s not just another modern punk wannabe effort with some metal tendencies sprinkled in to increase its appeal to a wider audience. This album is a true D.I.Y. piece of work, and a damned fun listen to boot. Cheers to Coliseum – I hope to finally see you soon.

idrinkwine732
02-06-2011, 08:06 PM
http://www.progarchives.com/progressive_rock_discography_covers/1749/cover_5352128122009.jpg
49. A Silver Mt. Zion - Kollapse Tradixionales
I really like ASMZ. I was thrilled when I heard they had a new album coming out in 2010. However, after listening to this album a few times, I really didn’t hear anything that grabbed my attention and demanded it such as the track “God Bless Our Dead Marines” from 2005’s “Horses in the Sky”. Such is the conundrum with bands such as ASMZ or their forbears, Godspeed You! Black Emperor. Hooks are not what they do. It’s all about emotion and atmosphere with bands like this. Their songs often develop slowly, and sometimes there isn’t a whole lot going on. I’m a fan of this style sometimes, but still there has to be something on an album which just grabs me and doesn’t let me forget to come back for more. That didn’t really happen with this album.

The answer is the "Metal Bird" duo.

With that said, God Bless Our Dead Marines > I Built/I Fed

Natrlhi
02-06-2011, 08:12 PM
The answer is the "Metal Bird" duo.

With that said, God Bless Our Dead Marines > I Built/I FedI agree with the first part of your comment, but the second part is why this album didn't grab me as much as some of their others. It could also have been that I just had so much other awesome stuff in my listening queue this year that this one just didn't get a fair shake. I dunno. :(

Natrlhi
02-10-2011, 03:00 PM
OK. Here is a compromise - five more now, and five more later...if I stay awake.I didn't stay awake. :snivel:


Anyway, here are the five more:



http://www.angrymetalguy.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/Barn-Burner-Bangers-300x300.jpg
45. Barn Burner - Bangers
I had never heard of these guys until I was given an opportunity to listen to their stuff for an online music review (which sadly never happened). Be that as it may, I was pretty surprised at what I heard. This Montreal-based quartet’s debut album is chock full of fairly catchy stoner metal in the same vein as Priestess and bands of their ilk. It’s very upbeat stuff, and their twin lead guitar attack harkens back to such bands as Thin Lizzy and Judas Priest. There’s even some bluesy feel to the music from time to time, which reminded me of how Clutch wears their blues influence proudly on their sleeves. Recommended for fans of Red Fang, Wolfmother, The Sword and all things stoner-y and fun.


http://untombed.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/WoeOfTyrants_Threnody-300x300.jpg
44. Woe of Tyrants - Threnody
When I first listened to this album, my expectations were set somewhere between “medium” and “low”, since the random tidbits I had previously heard from them hadn’t impressed me all that much. However, the third full-length album by this death metal quartet from Chillicothe, OH (Ohio in da hay-ouse, bitches!) was a pleasant surprise for me. My first reaction is to compare them to Arsis because of the clearly high level of technical ability on display here, but all in all, I would say that Woe of Tyrants takes as many cues from harder, heavier bands such as Nile and Behemoth as they do from some of the more melodic tech-death bands such as Arsis and Necrophagist. Whichever band you compare them to, it’s clear that Woe of Tyrants is cranking out some technically-stunning-yet-quite-heavy-as-well music these days, and that’s a very good thing. Recommended for fans of the bands mentioned above.


http://images.hhv.de/catalog/old_detail/00210/210423.jpg
43. Coffinworm - When All Became None
For those who aren’t aware, Coffinworm is a five-piece outfit from Indianapolis who specialize in a tasty combination of sludge / doom and black metal. This album, released by Profound Lore Records, is their full-length debut, and as far as debut albums go, I would say this one is a pretty strong charge out of the gates. The production is a bit muddy, and the band sometimes sounds as if they’re playing in a cave, but then again, lots of black metal tends to sound this way. The real point of this album, I think, is to convey a fair amount of rage – and I think Coffinworm does that very successfully here. Plus, with song titles like “Start Saving for Your Funeral”, “Strip Nude for Your Killer”, and “Spitting in Infinity’s Asshole”, how could you really go wrong?


http://www.metalinjection.net/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/ARSIS-Starve-For-The-Devil-Artwork-300x300.jpg
42. Arsis - Starve for the Devil
Didn’t I just mention these guys a moment ago? [looks back at #44 on this list] Why, yes I did. Instead of being a point of comparison, however, Arsis is now front and center with their latest album ready to be critiqued by yet another unworthy judge. So let’s get to it. Under the heading “first things first”, let’s just get this on the table right from the start – Arsis have lain down an experimental batch of songs here. Some would say they’ve changed their style – I tend to think of it more along the lines of “focused noodling” (but maybe that’s just because I’m a big fan of their previous work). Either way, this album is a bit surprising because it is basically a thrash album from a band who is more well-known for technical death metal with a fairly melodic bent. Now that I think about it, though, this album is really both. One can definitely hear the thrash influence here – it’s almost palpable – but one can also tell that this is an Arsis album, because the vocals and guitar playing still have that “classic Arsis” feel. To put it another way, this is a thrash album that only Arsis could have made. In the end, some folks will love this album, and some won’t. All I know is, it spent several weeks in my car stereo when it was first released, and I’ve revisited it several times since then – and it always makes me smile and bang my head. Sure, it’s cheesy at times, but there’s plenty of cheese out there in the metal world (I’m looking at you, GWAR), so why not, right? There are several really good riffs on this album, and it keeps me coming back for more, so ‘nuf said.


http://metalodyssey.files.wordpress.com/2011/01/sodom-in-war-and-pieces-large-album-promo-pic.jpg
41. Sodom - In War & Pieces
About a year ago, I listened to a new album by Kreator – one of the Teutonic Thrash Masters whose albums I grew up with back in the late 80’s. I was entertained, but not overly impressed. When I heard that Sodom – another member of this elite group of bands which were synonymous with the word “awesome” back in the day – was releasing an album in 2010, I shrugged and decided I’d give it a listen when it dropped. I did – and what dropped was my jaw. The first couple of tracks were like nothing I’d heard before from Sodom (granted, I’d not really listened to them much for the last two decades). This was (is) a great album! The addition of a second CD filled with live performances of some of my favorites from the days of yore sealed the deal. I am officially a re-awakened Sodom fan once again. This album makes me want to go back and listen to the albums which have been released for the last two decades, because something tells me I may have been missing out. Again, this is a great modern thrash album by one of the founding fathers of the genre. Recommended for fans of awesome.

Natrlhi
03-03-2011, 02:14 PM
Time to add another couple of trees to the raging forest fire that is this thread... :eyes: (thanks a lot, guise :boohoo:)

http://www.metalkingdom.net/album/cover/d39/29144_black_anvil_triumvirate.jpg
40. Black Anvil - Triumvirate
Some guy named Brad Sanders reviewed this album on some web site I was browsing on, and he said that the unique thing about this NYC black metal outfit is that instead of howling, frostbitten winds and bleak, frozen tundras, the imagery that propels Black Anvil’s work is that of rush-hour gridlock and dark, foreboding urban cityscapes (or something like that). He also said that this is a powerful album that remains loyal to its black metal roots, but offers additional pleasures by way of multiple influences outside of its primary genre. Lastly, he said that the album is very compelling, and could be a promising omen for this band. The rest of the review was pure garbage, but I’d have to agree with these points at least. ;) But seriously, this is a damned fine modern black metal album – you should check it out. Black Anvil is also quite entertaining live, so do check them out if they happen to make a tour stop near you.

http://hollywoodmusicmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/bison_dark.jpg
39. Bison BC - Dark Ages
I’ve heard folks describe Bison as a “Mastodon rip-off”. Personally, I’ve always heard more of a similarity to High on Fire (in fact, sometimes I describe them as “Canada’s answer to HoF”). In all reality, Bison is really an amalgamation of sounds and styles from both of these bands, as well as having a healthy amount of influence from others in addition to their own unique voice. This album, their third so far, is probably their best work in that it shows the band both reaching out into new areas as well as keeping close to the elements that have put them on the map in the first place. There is a maturing process happening with this band, and so far, each album has been even better than the last. Here’s to the next great album from Bison! (Oh, and I finally got to see them perform this year, too; they are a great live band – worth your time and attention.)

http://roadburn.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/Rosetta-Determinism-of-Morality2.jpg
38. Rosetta - A Determinism of Morality
Rosetta is a post-metal outfit that produces music which I describe as “heavy and slightly trippy post-metal”. According to their page on Wikipedia, the band somewhat humorously self-describes its music as "metal for astronauts". I think that description fits as well. Sonically, they really are a lot like Isis, but they are generally not as melodic as Isis can be. The vocals here are generally harsh and screamed, and there is a ton of echo and reverb at play. This album seems to have an increased emphasis on uplifting drum beats and soaring guitar work, and almost evokes a post-rock feeling at times. However the listener chooses to describe this album, ultimately it’s just a really nice slab of atmospheric post-metal (for astronauts, and earthbound folks alike).

http://www.rocksound.tv/images/uploads/wonder300.jpg
37. Knut - Wonder
Knut is a post-metal outfit that I often think of when I think of the aforementioned Rosetta, but as I listen to them, I have no idea why. Maybe it’s because I discovered both bands at around the same time. One thing is clear, though. Rosetta is here to take you on a soaring journey. Knut is here to kick your fucking ass. Knut is discordant. Knut sounds a lot like Keelhaul, but much angrier (yes, really). Like Keelhaul, Knut loves to indulge in odd time signatures, almost as if to goad the listener into trying to headbang, only to have him / her break his / her damn fool neck. In fact, like the mighty Meshuggah, it’s almost as if these Swiss bastards are saying “I dare you to try to headbang to this shit!” You’re gonna want to try, because the music is just so heavy and cathartic, but if you do, don’t say we didn’t warn you.

http://www.angrymetalguy.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/Istapp_Blekinge-300x300.jpg
36. Istapp - Blekinge
I read a review (http://www.jukeboxmetal.com/2010/istapp-blekinge/) for this album on another web site, and the reviewer made it sound like Istapp is to Immortal and Mayhem, what Ensiferum is to bands like Amon Amarth and Unleashed. Then I listened to the album, and lo and behold, this guy was dead on balls correct! (not to mention that the review itself was extremely well-written and full of interesting descriptions and the like ;)). All I can say is, if you’ve ever wondered what black metal would sound like if it were to get over itself and allow itself to be triumphant – and perhaps almost happy – for about thirty to forty minutes, then this is the album you’ve been seeking.

jhdeity
03-03-2011, 08:48 PM
SODOM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

DethMaiden
03-03-2011, 08:50 PM
:lol: Nice Black Anvil blurb. ;)

I really love what they do but I think they're an album away from a real breakthrough. Don't be surprised if their third is a masterpiece.

Natrlhi
03-04-2011, 05:59 AM
:lol: Nice Black Anvil blurb. ;)

I really love what they do but I think they're an album away from a real breakthrough. Don't be surprised if their third is a masterpiece.
:agree: Agreed.

daimonos
03-04-2011, 12:13 PM
You're right about Black Anvil's live show. They fucking killed at Watain.

Natrlhi
03-04-2011, 12:54 PM
http://altsphere.com/catalog/834-678-large/black-tusk-taste-the-sin.jpg
35. Black Tusk - Taste the Sin
Simply put, this is one of the riffiest albums released in 2010 (you'll hear about a few more riff-monsters as we progress through this list, but this is definitely one of the most fun). This album received mixed reviews from many different folks on metalsetlists in 2010, but personally I just love the way these guys combine their Savannah, GA riff-heavy sensibilities with their obvious worship of all things punk to come up with a cocktail that is uniquely their own. It's like a stripped-down version of Kylesa without the female vocals (in fact, speaking of vocals, all three band members contribute on that score - another aspect I enjoy). It's like Lair of the Minotaur, but the lyrics aren't about war and the hardcore punk influence is even more obvious. However you choose to describe it, I definitely like it. By the way, these guys are loads of fun live, too - and they are very approachable and personable to speak with in person, to boot. Here's looking forward to another solid release from Black Tusk.


http://www.rocklouder.co.uk/images/uploads/warpriders300.jpg
34. The Sword - Warp Riders
This album is another riff-heavy affair, to be sure. When I first listened to Warp Riders, I was surprised to hear how heavy it was. Once I started saying this to people, though - they started pointing out to me that The Sword's two previous albums were even heavier. I went back and checked it out, and they were basically correct. Where this album really exceeds its predecessors is in the progginess category. Also, it's even more of a solid concept album than the first two (although this may not mean much to most folks in terms of listenability. At the end of the day, though, it's still obviously a release from The Sword, and the stoner-y riffs abound herein as much as they ever have. This is a truly solid release from one of the most popular stoner metal bands out there right now.


http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_mTQLYHK9n-s/TBiPbB0gvOI/AAAAAAAASbg/AcQqne_8qu4/s400/DECREPIT+BIRTH(New+CD+2010)%2B_16-06-2010_wm.jpg
33. Decrepit Birth - Polarity
Let me start out this blurb by saying that although I'm a fan of technical death metal, I'm also picky about it. One of the cardinal sins in this sub-genre, I think, is technical wankery just for the sake of it. many tech death bands unwittingly commit this mistake early on in an album, and from there on in, they've usually lost me either partially or completely. Having said this, "Polarity" was a pleasant surprise for me. There are actually some great riffs in here - in fact, one riff at about two minutes into the first track has a definite Cynic feel to it. Of course, the drum work is tight as all get-out and the guitars are impeccable (but we already knew Decrepit Birth was capable of this). However, what I like most is that there are passages on this album that make me want to come back for more - and that's what an above-average tech death album should do.


http://sfist.com/attachments/sfistLeanne/yakuza.jpg
32. Yakuza - Of Seismic Consequence
Ahhhh, finally another truly solid post metal release. The two albums by Rosetta and Knut which were discussed in the previous segment were quite good in their own right, but in a year where solid albums in one of my favorite sub-genres were rather hard to come by, this one was definitely a pleasant surprise. I say this not only because I had never really even heard of Yakuza before listening to this, but also I certainly have never heard another album quite like this. There are hints of bands such as Minsk or U.S. Christmas (and sometimes even Neurosis) present here, but I would say that Yakuza takes the spaced-out, trippy, doomy aspect of post-metal to a new level on this, their fourth (and definitely best) full-length album. They deftly mix bits of thrash and even hardcore in with the thick blend of atmospheric post-sludge - and often at a relatively upbeat pace for an album such as this - with beautiful oddities such as saxophone passages, bongo drums and weird time signatures, to create one of the most interesting post-metal albums that I've heard in quite some time. This is truly excellent stuff.


http://www.metalkingdom.net/album/cover/d31/29235_hail_of_bullets_on_divine_winds.jpg
31. Hail of Bullets - On Divine Winds
Did you enjoy 2008's debut album from this death metal supergroup? Of course you did! Accordingly, you will love this album as well. Why? Simply put, it's basically the same formula as the previous album, and in this case, that's a very good thing. Only the best of the best - bands such as Bolt Thrower, Dismember, Amon Amarth, Unleashed - can keep doing basically the same thing album after album and have their fans continue to drool over it - and that's true for one reason and one reason only. It's because they are ABSOLUTE MASTERS at what they do. The "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" mentality only applies to something that's this good - for everybody else, repeating the past is simply a lazy cop-out - but not when your name is Martin van Drunen and the band in question is Hail of Bullets. In that case, doing the same thing you've always done makes fists pump in the air, heads bang, bodies flail about in a violent but somehow organized macrocosm called the mosh pit, panties fly off, and yes, money fly out of wallets. That's when you know you're a fucking metal god.

larvtard
03-04-2011, 02:49 PM
http://www.rocklouder.co.uk/images/uploads/warpriders300.jpg
34. The Sword - Warp Riders
This album is another riff-heavy affair, to be sure. When I first listened to Warp Riders, I was surprised to hear how heavy it was. Once I started saying this to people, though - they started pointing out to me that The Sword's two previous albums were even heavier. I went back and checked it out, and they were basically correct. Where this album really exceeds its predecessors is in the progginess category. Also, it's even more of a solid concept album than the first two (although this may not mean much to most folks in terms of listenability. At the end of the day, though, it's still obviously a release from The Sword, and the stoner-y riffs abound herein as much as they ever have. This is a truly solid release from one of the most popular stoner metal bands out there right now.


I got my dad this album for his 50th birthday last month, he really likes it :fist:

Also, on the subject of Caspian, since you mentioned them in your "Live performances' blurb... I just noticed that they're playing friday night in Athens, where I'm going that very same day for a college visit. Should I try to make the show? I'm not a big post-rock fan, but I'd love to get a feel for the live venues around there.

Natrlhi
03-07-2011, 12:00 PM
I got my dad this album for his 50th birthday last month, he really likes it :fist:

Also, on the subject of Caspian, since you mentioned them in your "Live performances' blurb... I just noticed that they're playing friday night in Athens, where I'm going that very same day for a college visit. Should I try to make the show? I'm not a big post-rock fan, but I'd love to get a feel for the live venues around there.I hope the Friday night in question wasn't the day you posted this, because I didn't see your question until now.

Assuming that it isn't, my answer is: "Hell fuck yes you should try to see Caspian...what the fuck kind of question is that, anyway?!?"

No, but seriously - I know you're not all that much of a post-rock / post-metal fan, but if you are looking to test out the waters - be it for the sake of the venue or for the sake of the band - Caspian is great stuff. Believe it or not, even though they can be quite melodic at times, they are still intense when they really get into an awesome crescendo part of one of their songs, and this is what I love about the really good post-rock bands...they can speak volumes of intensity without ever uttering a single word. :bliss:

Plus, the show will most likely be cheap as fuck, so why the hell not, right? ;)

larvtard
03-07-2011, 01:15 PM
I hope the Friday night in question wasn't the day you posted this, because I didn't see your question until now.

Assuming that it isn't, my answer is: "Hell fuck yes you should try to see Caspian...what the fuck kind of question is that, anyway?!?"

No, but seriously - I know you're not all that much of a post-rock / post-metal fan, but if you are looking to test out the waters - be it for the sake of the venue or for the sake of the band - Caspian is great stuff. Believe it or not, even though they can be quite melodic at times, they are still intense when they really get into an awesome crescendo part of one of their songs, and this is what I love about the really good post-rock bands...they can speak volumes of intensity without ever uttering a single word. :bliss:

Plus, the show will most likely be cheap as fuck, so why the hell not, right? ;)

nice! I'll see what I can do.

Natrlhi
03-08-2011, 09:57 AM
OK, so with this next batch (or two) of updates (#30 through #21), all of my picks for the year will finally be known (because I had already let the cat out of the bag early back on page one of this thread with my top twenty). However, I’ll still be posting blurbs for the top twenty, since all that was posted before was a bare-bones list without any descriptions, and apparently my way of describing things is perhaps more interesting to some folks than the actual ranking of the albums. :D

At any rate, here are a couple more:

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_38kcS7vSCdQ/S_Hrlqmd-lI/AAAAAAAAAs4/E5sdQbRPCHk/s400/Exhale(2010)Blind.jpg
30. Exhale - Blind
This is another album for which I read a damned good online review (http://www.jukeboxmetal.com/2010/exhale-blind/) on some other web site (;)), and the reviewer said that “If you enjoy the heavy buzz-saw guitar tone prevalent in the music of bands such as Dismember, Trap Them and Entombed, then you just might like this album. If you enjoy super-fast, super-heavy modern grindcore such as Pig Destroyer, Nasum and Rotten Sound, then you will very likely enjoy this album. If you enjoy both, then you will definitely love this album.” That just about sums it up. This is some damned good grind from a fledgling Swedish outfit called Exhale, and if they keep putting out stuff this good, they are bound to be a household name soon. Recommended for fans of the bands mentioned above.

http://www.metalkingdom.net/album/cover/d40/25779_immolation_majesty_and_decay.jpg
29. Immolation - Majesty and Decay
Like so many other bands on this year’s list, my first significant experience with this band was in a live setting, back in January 2010 when I saw them on tour with Nile – one of the heaviest bands in existence. When I left that show, I had a new respect for Immolation, because to be honest, they ended up being just about one of the only bands who could have reasonably occupied the opening spot for a band as heavy as Nile. Now when it comes to bands like this, I have a bit of a pet peeve with bands who are just brutally heavy and nothing else. There has to be something else there to make me want to keep coming back. I’m still searching for it with bands such as Grave, but with this album, I don’t have to look very far. Not only is this music as heavy as Satan’s testicles – ON JUPITER – but there are many compelling riffs throughout the eleven tracks (plus one intro track) that comprise this album. Recommended for fans of brutal death metal such as Cannibal Corpse, Deicide, Mayhem and, of course, Nile.

http://www.metalkingdom.net/album/cover/d7/30894_the_ocean_anthropocentric.jpg
28. The Ocean - Anthropocentric
This is yet another album for which I read a particularly eloquent online review (http://www.jukeboxmetal.com/2010/the-ocean-anthropocentric/) on some other web site wherein the reviewer compares this album to its sister album “Heliocentric”. As the reviewer states, “It’s all here. However, somehow, it all just pales in comparison…”. Again, this guy is dead-on-balls accurate. (:D) Simply put, this album would probably have fans of the proggier side of post-metal drooling all over it if it weren’t for “Heliocentric”. To make matters worse, “Heliocentric” came first – setting the bar extremely high. Nevertheless, this is still a damned good album, and I do sometimes find myself listening to it (but even I admit that I usually listen to “Heliocentric” afterward and find myself nodding and thinking, “oh yeah – this is WAY better.”) Sorry, little sister – your older sibling is just smoking hot. What’s a brother to do?

http://hangout.altsounds.com/geek/gars/images/1/7/6/0/7/sweet_cobra.jpg
27. Sweet Cobra - Mercy
From the rhythmic drum beats and infectious guitar riffing in the opening seconds of the album’s first track “Brux”, Sweet Cobra had me hooked and smiling from ear to ear. The last time something like that happened, the album in question (Kylesa’s “Static Tensions”) rose all the way to number three on my year-end list, eclipsed only by Cobalt’s “Gin” and Baroness’s “Blue Record”. Now don’t get ahead of me, here. “Mercy” is a damned fine album, but we are at #27 on this year’s list. This may not be another “Static Tensions”, but Sweet Cobra surely do manage to outdo themselves here. In particular, the bottom end of this album is just such a beast – and in fact, almost every band member contributes to it in some way. The drum contributions are obvious, as are the truly massive contributions of bassist / vocalist Tim Remus – but even the guitars are heavy and low here. Production-wise, some of the distortion prevalent on earlier albums has been dialed back, and the result is that you can actually hear this album’s pulse (and quick it is, at times). Sadly, guitarist Matt Arluck passed away after a long battle with cancer before this album was released, but I couldn’t think of a better legacy to leave behind than a heavy, riffy masterpiece of an album such as this, recorded with people who loved him as a brother.

http://s3.amazonaws.com/delivery.midheaven.com/s/113169/images/8802703316280_main.jpg
26. Man's Gin - Smiling Dogs
When I heard that multi-instrumentalist / vocalist Erik Wunder from Cobalt was involved with this album, I just had to hear it, because I already know what an excellent songwriter he is. I had no fucking clue. Simply put, this album is nothing like Cobalt – it’s a particularly catchy form of dark, depressive (but yet still somehow remarkably upbeat at times) folk music that sounds like it has Eddie Vedder at the mic. Confused? Don’t be. All I’m really trying to say is that this album is nothing like Wunder’s work in Cobalt. However, the songs are so well-written and laden with sweet hooks that it’s just as compelling as Cobalt’s music – if not more. It would be an understatement to say that this album has repeat-play potential…the album practically demands it. The interplay between the guitars (and sometimes piano) and the vocals is just expertly done. This is without a doubt my favorite non-metal album of the year.

Natrlhi
03-18-2011, 12:31 PM
All right – top twenty-five time, folks. The shit is starting to get real. :lol:

Seriously, though – I am starting to get pretty excited about my list at this point, because there’s some really excellent stuff coming up. For those of you who are still reading, thanks. I know it seems to take me longer every year to finish this list – and there’s already a lot of buzz out there about some damned good albums that have been released this year – but I’ve been busy like you wouldn’t believe lately, and yet I still believe that the albums in this part of the list in particular are worthy enough of your attention that I feel the need to shove them in your face even though we’re about eleven weeks into a new year already. :D

So, with that shoving in mind, here are another five albums for your consideration:


http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_Q8viiXG4gss/TRUClrgnfII/AAAAAAAABBY/YIQAbopjNcA/s1600/gifts+from+enola.jpg
25. Gifts from Enola – Gifts from Enola
This post-metal quartet from Harrisonburg, Virginia just keeps getting better and better with each album. Their 2009 release “From Fathoms” was #43 on my list of almost 100 albums I listened to that year, and if anything I’ve learned to appreciate it even more since then. This release is clearly better than that. Not only are all the “post-metal essentials” all in place (e.g., production, songwriting, musicianship, mastery of pace and dynamics, etc.), but the “curb appeal” factor is in full swing here as well. In other words, not only is this album excellent by the numbers, but it excels in the subjective arena as well. When I listen to it, I smile. It makes me want to come back for more. It’s more than “just another post-metal album” – it’s a post-metal album to judge other post-metal albums by…and it’s only this band’s third release. Well done, Gifts.


http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_TYtL3iq-5_8/TObFQ6hOJxI/AAAAAAAAFgc/hin5IUeFPUc/s1600/LSoD+Wound.jpg
24. Lightning Swords of Death – The Extra-Dimensional Wound
I usually listen to the albums in question when I’m writing these reviews – even if I’ve heard them many times before. It just makes me feel like I’m doing the album more justice. The reason I mention this is, the transition from the previous album to this one was so abrupt, it just made me laugh out loud. Where GfE is solid post-metal who can get quite heavy at times, they are light years from making a sound even remotely close to what LSoD can do. What exactly can these folks do, you may ask? Quite simply, this quartet from Los Angeles can make some of the sludgiest, heaviest black metal on the planet – that’s what. I’ll admit I haven’t heard as much black metal as some other folks out there, but I’m quickly moving to remedy that situation – and I’ve listened to my fair share the last couple of years. Nothing I’ve yet heard has as thick and crunchy a bottom end as this. Nothing. The bass on this album just bludgeons the listener to death with its brutality. The blast beats from the drums are relentless. The vocals are harsh, but clean enough to be heard very clearly. The guitar work is exceptional. Above all, the crunchy riffs come heavy and often. Overall, this is just an extremely compelling listen. Great stuff.


http://steffmetal.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/shining-blackjazz-album-cover.jpg
23. Shining – Blackjazz
Whoa. Just, whoa. Seriously, this album is just…whoa. I don’t even know where to begin. Genre? Beats the hell out of me. Description? Yeah, good luck. The only thing I can say is…well, you know. The best way to describe this album is to say that at the heart of it all, it’s the most extreme experimental alt-metal album, heavily influenced by jazz (no kidding!) that I’ve ever heard. Not only is the jazz influence very obvious, but there are shades of Mike Patton all over this thing, plus an extreme array of similarities to some of the oddest heavy bands out there, such as Diablo Swing Orchestra or Estradasphere. Yeah, it’s that weird – and yeah, it’s that good. I don’t know what else to say, except that if you like extreme music, you just have to try this album out for yourself and see what you think. It will certainly grab your attention – I don’t care what you normally listen to. You may like it, you may hate it, but you’ll probably never forget it. Oh, and one more thing…the track “Fisheye” is the most addicting thing since The Man invented crack to keep all of us common folk down. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.


http://iheartau.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/cloudkicker-beacons-300x300.jpg
22. Cloudkicker – Beacons
Right on the heels of one of the most unusual albums I’ve ever heard, comes a review of another one of the most unusual albums I’ve ever heard. Cloudkicker is an instrumental progressive post-metal solo project of one Mr. Ben Sharp from Columbus, Ohio. Simply put, this album is what you get when you take the post-metal core of Isis and execute it through the prog-metal machinations of a band such as Meshuggah. The thing is, both of those bands have no less than five members. This is one guy. The most amazing thing is, you’d never know it, though. When I listen to this album, I can definitely tell that there are some aspects of this music which are aided by technology. For example, some of the drum sounds definitely come from a machine – however, there are a whole lot of live drums on here as well. Also, there are definitely multiple guitar parts interplaying here – and it’s exactly that interplay, be it between guitar parts or between guitars and drums or what have you – that really works on this album. Surely it doesn’t hurt that the songwriting is stellar, the production slick and clean (a must for music such as this), and the musicianship top notch. At the end of the day, this album is simply a highly compelling listen for fans of all things progressive, post-metal, instrumental or just plain awesome.


http://www.mindovermetal.org/blog/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/watain-lawlessdarkness-300x300.jpg
21. Watain – Lawless Darkness
My first exposure to this band was somewhat of an accident. I went to their show to see one of the opening acts (NYC’s Black Anvil), primarily, and figured I’d stick around if I heard anything else I liked. Let’s just say that my ears were about the last of my senses to be stimulated that night. The first was…my nose. Those who know about this band will know what I’m talking about – the rest can go look it up somewhere else. The next of my senses to be stimulated were my eyes. As soon as I saw these guys in full gear and corpse paint, I knew that the show was going to be brutal. Still, I had no earthly idea of what was about to occur. Suffice to say that Watain truly eats, sleeps and breathes Satanic black metal. Every song is sinister and evil, but the story gets much better than that. In addition to being extremely competent showmen and dedicated to both their beliefs and their craft, they are extremely talented musicians as well. This is a truly wicked combination. “Lawless Darkness” may or may not be their best work to date – I admit I don’t have much knowledge of this band’s catalog – but if it isn’t some of their best work, I can’t wait to hear the albums that are considered to be better than this. As I said, this is Satanic black metal at its most competent, most evil and most extreme – in other words, this music is definitely not for the faint of heart.

…I fucking told you I was getting excited about this part of my list.

jhdeity
03-18-2011, 03:38 PM
Some great choices and some new shit to check out. All Hail Nat!

I laughed when I played Shining for a friend and he said what kind of music is this. Without really thinking I said BLACK JAZZ. hahaha

DethMaiden
03-18-2011, 05:09 PM
I think that's the best Watain album, at least of their current style. There's inevitably going to be people who think they peaked on Rabid Death's Curse and started sucking when they discovered melody, but fuck 'em, Lawless Darkness is their masterpiece.

treghet
03-18-2011, 11:49 PM
I think that's the best Watain album, at least of their current style. There's inevitably going to be people who think they peaked on Rabid Death's Curse and started sucking when they discovered melody, but fuck 'em, Lawless Darkness is their masterpiece.

Agreed. And Sworn to the Dark is a very close second, for me.

Natrlhi
03-19-2011, 12:19 AM
I think that's the best Watain album, at least of their current style. There's inevitably going to be people who think they peaked on Rabid Death's Curse and started sucking when they discovered melody, but fuck 'em, Lawless Darkness is their masterpiece.
Agreed. And Sworn to the Dark is a very close second, for me.
Well then it looks like I picked the best two albums to listen to, because "Sworn to the Dark" is the other one I've checked out to any significant degree, and I fucking love it as well. The title track to that album was absolutely sublime live. Erik's eyes rolled so far back into his head on that one I thought we might not see his pupils again for the rest of the set. :eek: He seemed to be absolutely transported to another place while he was shrieking out the chorus. :fist:

daimonos
03-19-2011, 10:21 AM
Well then it looks like I picked the best two albums to listen to, because "Sworn to the Dark" is the other one I've checked out to any significant degree, and I fucking love it as well. The title track to that album was absolutely sublime live. Erik's eyes rolled so far back into his head on that one I thought we might not see his pupils again for the rest of the set. :eek: He seemed to be absolutely transported to another place while he was shrieking out the chorus. :fist:

Casus Luciferi is a great one too. A bit more on the raw side but the riffs are awesome. Haven't heard all of Rabid Death's Curse.

Natrlhi
03-23-2011, 11:33 AM
Time for another update, kids. This group of five is a mofo – if you don’t like at least something from this group, then you do not like metal. Please exit stage right, go directly to hell, do not pass “Go”, and do not collect $200.


http://forbidden-magazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/atheist-jupiter-300x300.jpg
20. Atheist – Jupiter
OK, so I have a mini-confession to make. I’d be lying if I were to claim to have always been a huge Atheist fan. I’m definitely a big fan of the kind of music they make, but for some reason I’ve never really gotten into them (and admittedly, I haven’t tried much). All of that changed – or at least, started to change – when I heard this album. Those who know me, know that I have a pet peeve with technicality for the sake of technicality, so many bands who play in the tech death sub-genre of metal are in for some major scrutiny by yours truly if they are to work their way into my busy listening queue (nice problem to have, by the way ;)). Atheist did it with this album. It’s proggy as all get-out, but it also has major curb appeal. The vocals are fantastic – they almost remind me of Snake’s vocals on early Voivod albums. The musicianship is, of course, top-notch – but this is true even for many bands in this sub-genre who release sub-standard albums. However, what makes it even better are the liberal use of solos, time signature changes which appear effortless rather than forced, brutally heavy and fast riffs that dive and lurch and turn on a dime – leaving the listener’s head spinning…this album has it all. Add to all of this, the fact that the production is clean and tight and top-notch, and you have yourself one of the best tech death albums which has been released in quite some time – plus, it’s fun to listen to. Even as a relatively inexperienced and newly-converted fan, I can confidently say that Atheist are definitely back with a vengeance.


http://www.teethofthedivine.com/site/uploads/2010/11/Deathspell-Omega-Paracletus-2010.jpg
19. Deathspell Omega – Paracletus
France doesn’t exactly produce a plethora of metal bands, but some of the ones it does produce sure are fantastic. Deathspell Omega seems to be among this group. This album is my first exposure to them, but based on what I’ve found here, I will be both checking out their back catalog as well as anxiously awaiting future releases. Deathspell are essentially a progressive black metal band with majorly satanic inclinations on the thematic side, but this description is remarkably insufficient. First of all, the production on this album is very clean and crisp – not exactly typical of their chosen genre (although it’s not that unusual these days, either). Secondly, the musicianship is just out-of-this-world in terms of quality. Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, the songwriting skills of this mysterious black metal outfit are simply outstanding. The mastery of volume, pace, atmospherics, chord progressions, and the like is such that the music seems to leap out of the speakers and grab the listener by the throat and demand his or her attention – scratch that – awe. The vocals are powerful and assertive when they need to be, but then the various instruments take front-and-center when it’s their turn to drive the music. Whichever part of the band has hold of the reins at the moment, the listener is forced to sit up and pay full attention at all times. This album is intense, progressive, beautiful, haunting, sinister and relentless – a truly excellent release in a genre which is very satiated at the moment, but which from time to time produces some truly exceptional gems such as this.


http://www.metalkingdom.net/album/cover/d82/27108_aeon_path_of_fire.jpg
18. Aeon – Path of Fire
When I saw that this album was next in the queue, my reaction was basically a wide, knowing grin. I’ve been looking forward to writing about this album. In 2009, the world was blessed with two extremely heavy albums from some of the best bands in the death metal business – Behemoth and Nile. In 2010, the album which most closely filled the shoes of these monster bands was a (relatively) little-known Swedish five-piece named Aeon. I had heard some of Aeon’s material previously, and I came away thinking that it was very technically proficient, but just slightly lacking in the “curb appeal” department. Then I heard “Path of Fire”. Not only are the blast beats and tremolo picking as fast and relentless – and technically clean – as ever, but the other less obvious aspects of the music on this disc are also in full effect. For example, there are a wide range of atmospheric chants and other symphonic bits that harken to some of the best work of, again, Nile. The production is as clean and tight as always (although this has pretty much always seemed to be true of Aeon’s albums), and the vocals are harsh and brutal, yet just intelligible enough so as not to become a parody. The most compelling aspect of this album, though, is definitely the brutal and bludgeoning way that Aeon combine their relentless blast beats with compelling death metal riffs and solos – the combination is extremely effective. This is a truly under-rated album by a somewhat under-the-radar band that not enough folks know about (yet). Watch out, Nile and Behemoth – you have some serious competition here.


http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_xo3Q_Ino1mA/S95cHJ-MPsI/AAAAAAAAgCc/cTPAb0JrHZg/s400/God+Is+an+Astronaut+-+Age+Of+The+Fifth+Sun+(2010).jpg
17. God Is an Astronaut – Age of the Fifth Sun
To everyone who thinks that all post-metal / post-rock is the same, I challenge you to listen to this band – and in particular, to this album. Now, just because I mentioned the word “challenge” doesn’t mean that this is an album which is a difficult listen – in fact, its primary appeal to me is that it is perhaps as easy listening as post-rock gets – but the “challenge” is what will happen to your notions of what post-rock is / what it can be after hearing “Age of the Fifth Sun”. Quite simply, the music on this album is not only beautiful – as most post-rock tends to be – but it is also catchy…and not just a little bit. What is that, you say? Post-rock with hooks? Well, kinda. I wouldn’t call them hooks as much as I would say that this album has “flair”. The songs are (often) upbeat. They move – not always quickly, but the pace never gets boring. That, and there are all sorts of little hooks (there I go using that word again) and fills and splashy cymbals – in addition to all the soaring, drawn-out notes and such that post-rock fans are used to hearing – such that this album is absolutely overflowing with interesting, joyous, tasty moments that just keep the listener smiling, head-bobbing and above all, pressing “play” over and over again.


http://www.metalkingdom.net/album/cover/d69/27590_karma_to_burn_appalachian_incantation.jpg
16. Karma to Burn – Appalachian Incantation
What a way to close out another group of five reviews. A technical death metal masterpiece from a group of true legends; a progged-out black metal album that redefines what black metal can be; a heavy-as-Satan’s-balls-ON-JUPITER death metal bludgeon-fest to rival some of the best in the business; possibly the catchiest post-whatever album that has ever been created; and now this…a highly-compelling, triumphant return for one of the best instrumental riff-master outfits of all time, Karma to Burn. I was so thrilled to hear that this awesome band was getting back together and releasing a new album – I bought it without hesitation, and without even downloading it first (which I’ll admit, is rare for this impatient and rabid metal fan in this day and age). Not only is this the riffiest album of the year by far – and c’mon, are you really that surprised? It’s Karma to Burn! – but one could say that this album is new and improved. What I mean by this is that a few of the songs actually feature vocals (and they’re good!). Now, this isn’t the first time that this band has had vocals on some of their songs…but it is the first time in a long while, and from the looks of things, this trend will continue. I was worried that the tracks with vocals might not be as heavy and groovy and interesting as the pure instrumental tracks, but I was pleasantly surprised that these concerns were unfounded. Case in point: “Waiting for the Western World” is perhaps one of the coolest songs K2B has ever made. Quite simply, K2B are back, they are now “plus one” (a four-piece with vocals, as opposed to an instrumental trio), and they are back in full force on this album. (By the way, the bonus disc with re-worked and re-recorded versions of some of the best old K2B favorites is a really nice addition here as well.)

As an epilogue to the above Karma to Burn review, I was just thinking that I had that album permanently installed (figuratively speaking, of course) in the CD changer of my Mustang all last summer. I jammed that album almost every time I drove that car. In hindsight, it is a FUCKING MIRACLE I didn't get any speeding tickets because of that fucking album - I shit you not. :lol:

If any of you have that album and can drive at or below the speed limit while listening to it, you are a better man than I. :snivel:

Natrlhi
03-31-2011, 01:44 PM
Well, here are five more excellently-written blurbs about five devastatingly awesome albums, which no one will read and which no one will comment on, because nobody loves me anymore… :(

http://cache1.bigcartel.com/product_images/24662501/cover_no_hawaii300.jpg
15. No Hawaii – Snake My Charms
So I was reading this devastatingly sexy online review (http://www.jukeboxmetal.com/2010/no-hawaii-snake-my-charms/) for the debut full-length from this Swedish post-metal act that I’ve never even heard of, and I decided to give it a try. Holy shit. As the reviewer notes, these guys sound like they’ve been at this for years. The production is excellent, the musicianship is top-notch and the songwriting is superb. Best of all, even though one can hear many different influences in this music, I feel pretty confident in saying that it is rather unlike anything you’ve ever heard before. Yes, it’s rooted in post-metal, but there are subtle elements of sludge mixed in here as well, in addition to progressive leanings often exhibited by bands such as Burst, Mastodon or The Ocean, and even some influences that sound a bit like – dare I say it? – metalcore (but the kind of metalcore that’s awesome, not the kind that’s shitty ;)). Sometimes this beautiful mess even sounds like Mike Patton had something to do with it – it can be quite eclectic at times. One thing is for sure, though – this band and this album definitely took me completely by surprise – and in a very good way. You should really check this out.


http://www.angrymetalguy.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/Unleashed_-_As_Yggdrasil_Trembles_artwork-300x300.jpg
14. Unleashed – As Yggdrasil Trembles
Speaking of online reviews, I found a particularly well-written review (http://www.jukeboxmetal.com/2010/unleashed-as-yggdrasil-trembles/) for this album as well. ;) The reviewer, of course, is spot on when he says that some bands can get away with being extremely consistent in their delivery for many years, and Unleashed is one of them. In fact, many folks (especially on this forum) automatically think of the remarkably consistent Amon Amarth when the term "Viking metal" is mentioned, but in fact, Unleashed has been doing the same thing, and for an even longer period of time. To borrow from the lyrics of the track “Wir Kapitulieren Niemals”, this album is yet another healthy slab of “Viking death metal – yeah, Viking death metal!” from one of the progenitors of the genre. When it comes to Viking metal, although Bathory may have done it first, Unleashed have been doing it the longest, and this album is an excellent example of why.


http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_yUFf_iEXTCw/S6v1ed8y8pI/AAAAAAAAAHA/ubWKaWXzst8/s320/landmine_marathon-sovereign_descent.jpg
13. Landmine Marathon – Sovereign Descent
When some folks hear that there is this grindcore band called Landmine Marathon with a female vocalist, I’d be willing to bet that many of them think that either (a) having a female vocalist is a gimmick on the part of the band to sell albums, or (b) she must be a poser. Oh, how wrong these misguided fools are. Not only is Grace Perry the real fucking deal when it comes to being a perfect frontperson for a grindcore band, but so are the musicians in this outfit. The music is well-written, intense, brutal, and of course, fast and heavy. The riffs are infectious and come at the listener relentlessly, and all the while, the delivery of the vocals is exactly what it should be – intense – regardless of the gender of the vocal cords creating them. Most grindcore fans want basically one thing – to have their fucking faces ripped off. Landmine Marathon delivers, with the added bonus of a devastating kick to the crotch by a deceivingly disarming female. Heaven!


http://www.themetalregister.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/howl-fullOfHell.jpg
12. Howl – Full of Hell
Since I blatantly and self-servingly linked to two of my own album reviews in the last three blurbs, I’m thinking…why not give someone else a chance? As the author mentions in this poignant online review (http://www.jukeboxmetal.com/2010/howl-full-of-hell/) for Howl’s debut full-length “Full of Hell”, "No matter how many different subgenres heavy metal branches into, at its core, it will always be about one thing and one thing only: The Almighty Riff." How true the words, and how well Howl understands them. This album is simply bone-crushing, through and through. From the opener “Horns of Steel” to the closer “The Day of Rest” (which is no Sunday picnic, I can assure you), the listener is simply pummeled with some of the fattest, beefiest and most memorable riffs to have been played on any album in any genre last year. This album is like a burrito at Chipotle when the dudes / dudettes are in a good mood and they just go apeshit with the ingredients, the thing splits open from all the stuff crammed inside, and they have to re-wrap it for you before they put it in the bag. Speaking of this analogy, let me carry it one step further…ya know the shit-eating grin that crosses your face when you know you’re just about to get a burrito like that? That’s the same look I have on my face every time I pull out this badass fucking album. ‘Nuff said. :D


http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_L6Pyzw2xwMo/TR4PXRo8VwI/AAAAAAAAADk/29ecwmSknN0/s1600/nachtmystium_addictsBlkMedd.jpg
11. Nachtmystium – Addicts: Black Meddle, Part 2
OK, enough sharing the spotlight with others…it’s time to direct the attention back to where it truly belongs – yours truly :tongue: – with a link to yet another excellently written online review (http://www.jukeboxmetal.com/2010/nachtmystium-addicts-black-meddle-pt-ii/) for the “bubble album” of 2010 (the one which just barely missed the illustrious Top Ten). Considering the significant buzz created by this album’s precursor, the bar was set fairly high for Nachtmystium with “Addicts”. So what did they do? Instead of trying to complete the vault with the same pole as the previous vault, they simply GOT A BIGGER STICK. Brilliant! All jokes aside, though, “Addicts” is really an almost completely different album from “Assassins”, but what hasn’t changed between these two excellent collections of work is how creative and inventive Nachtmystium has been. As has been mentioned many times before, Nachtmystium are a black metal band at their core, but what really sets them apart is that they continually show that they are very competent players of almost any genre they choose – and their true skill is the ability to meld numerous genres together atop a basic black metal canvas in such a way as to create something which is truly compelling and unique. Kudos to a truly creative band for reinventing themselves yet again.

DethMaiden
03-31-2011, 02:30 PM
1) Well, here are five more excellently-written blurbs about five devastatingly awesome albums, which no one will read and which no one will comment on, because nobody loves me anymore… :(


2) http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_yUFf_iEXTCw/S6v1ed8y8pI/AAAAAAAAAHA/ubWKaWXzst8/s320/landmine_marathon-sovereign_descent.jpg
13. Landmine Marathon – Sovereign Descent
When some folks hear that there is this grindcore band called Landmine Marathon with a female vocalist, I’d be willing to bet that many of them think that either (a) having a female vocalist is a gimmick on the part of the band to sell albums, or (b) she must be a poser. Oh, how wrong these misguided fools are. Not only is Grace Perry the real fucking deal when it comes to being a perfect frontperson for a grindcore band, but so are the musicians in this outfit. The music is well-written, intense, brutal, and of course, fast and heavy. The riffs are infectious and come at the listener relentlessly, and all the while, the delivery of the vocals is exactly what it should be – intense – regardless of the gender of the vocal cords creating them. Most grindcore fans want basically one thing – to have their fucking faces ripped off. Landmine Marathon delivers, with the added bonus of a devastating kick to the crotch by a deceivingly disarming female. Heaven!


3) http://www.themetalregister.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/howl-fullOfHell.jpg
12. Howl – Full of Hell
Since I blatantly and self-servingly linked to two of my own album reviews in the last three blurbs, I’m thinking…why not give someone else a chance? As the author mentions in this poignant online review (http://www.jukeboxmetal.com/2010/howl-full-of-hell/) for Howl’s debut full-length “Full of Hell”, "No matter how many different subgenres heavy metal branches into, at its core, it will always be about one thing and one thing only: The Almighty Riff." How true the words, and how well Howl understands them. This album is simply bone-crushing, through and through. From the opener “Horns of Steel” to the closer “The Day of Rest” (which is no Sunday picnic, I can assure you), the listener is simply pummeled with some of the fattest, beefiest and most memorable riffs to have been played on any album in any genre last year. This album is like a burrito at Chipotle when the dudes / dudettes are in a good mood and they just go apeshit with the ingredients, the thing splits open from all the stuff crammed inside, and they have to re-wrap it for you before they put it in the bag. Speaking of this analogy, let me carry it one step further…ya know the shit-eating grin that crosses your face when you know you’re just about to get a burrito like that? That’s the same look I have on my face every time I pull out this badass fucking album. ‘Nuff said. :D


1) Tomorrow is April. That's why. Not the writing. ;)

2) Such a fucking incredible album. Made my top ten. Also, they were my favorite live show of 2010.

3) That reviewer sure writes like he's handsome. Great album, also. :allan:

Natrlhi
03-31-2011, 02:59 PM
1) Yeah, I know. I was being totally facetious. It has been past the point of being ridiculous for some time now. I'm also way behind on stuff for Andy, but I can't help it. If you walked a mile in my shoes, you'd understand. It's only by my pure obsessive-compulsiveness that I'm trying to finish this list. I know nobody gives a shit anymore. I just want to finish what I started, and if somebody pays attention to a band that deserves it because of something I said, so much the better.

2) Does your GF know you're sercretly in love with another woman?

3) I don't know about handsome, but at least he can put a few words together in a clever and informative way - but don't tell him I said that or he'll think he's all that and a bag of pork rinds. ;) And yes, the album is fucking awesome. That's why I continue to write whatever and whenever I can - because I think awesomeness deserves to be recognized (not my writing, the music :D).

DethMaiden
04-01-2011, 01:53 PM
1) Yeah, I know. I was being totally facetious. It has been past the point of being ridiculous for some time now. I'm also way behind on stuff for Andy, but I can't help it. If you walked a mile in my shoes, you'd understand. It's only by my pure obsessive-compulsiveness that I'm trying to finish this list. I know nobody gives a shit anymore. I just want to finish what I started, and if somebody pays attention to a band that deserves it because of something I said, so much the better.

2) Does your GF know you're sercretly in love with another woman?

3) I don't know about handsome, but at least he can put a few words together in a clever and informative way - but don't tell him I said that or he'll think he's all that and a bag of pork rinds. ;) And yes, the album is fucking awesome. That's why I continue to write whatever and whenever I can - because I think awesomeness deserves to be recognized (not my writing, the music :D).

1) Dude, I'm busier than balls too. I owe Andy as much as you do. :lol:

2) She knows about Natalie Portman. Haven't told her about Grace yet. ;)

3) Keep on keepin' on, I'm reading it. :fist:

larvtard
04-01-2011, 03:06 PM
he'll think he's all that and a bag of pork rinds. ;)

Oh, you silly midwesterners

Natrlhi
04-07-2011, 10:51 AM
All right, since we’re about 25% of the way through 2011, I suppose it’s time I finally finished up the last few reviews for my “Best of 2010” list. Hey – shoot me – I’m busy as fuck these days. Plus, the music in question hasn’t gotten any less awesome just because an extra month or two has gone by, has it? Hey, if you find something in this thread that sounds interesting, then go ahead and check it out. No one says you can only listen to 2011 releases in 2011. I know there’s a whole lot of good stuff out this year already, but if any albums can compete with the best of the best music that has been released this year, the next ten are definite contenders. :D


http://www.metalinjection.net/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/Kylesa-Spiral-Shadow-300x300.jpg
10. Kylesa – Spiral Shadow
Many folks know that I was a huge fan of Kylesa’s watershed 2009 album “Static Tensions”. Many of those folks agreed with me – some did not – but I suspect that there might be more than a few folks who would expect me to shower this album with praise no matter what it sounds like. Those folks don’t know me as well as they might think. I’ll be honest with you – at first, I only really liked the tracks which had been released prior to the album’s debut (“Tired Climb” and “Forsaken”) – I wasn’t feeling the rest of the album very much. But then I spent some time with this album, and I realized something. It’s more psychedelic than “Tensions” – and as such, it’s probably meant for closer inspection – specifically, listening with headphones – and as it turns out, not only did I find a lot more to love about this album when I did that, but later I would find out – when watching the bonus “Making of…” DVD which came with the special edition CD – that this is exactly what Kylesa had in mind when they made this album. These days, I am fully in love with this album – so you might say that the expected has basically happened…which may be technically true, but I certainly took an unexpected and circuitous route to being in love with this album as compared to “Tensions” – and in the end, that’s how I would sum up this album. It is more psychedelic, more of a grower, than “Tensions” was, but in the end, there is so much to love about this album that it has ranked among my overall favorites for 2010. Case closed.


http://www.longislandpress.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/kvelertak-300x300.jpg
9. Kvelertak – Kvelertak
Speaking of expected versus unexpected…this album fits squarely into the latter category for me for sure. I had no idea who these Norwegians were before listening to this album, and nor did I have any clue what to expect before I pressed “play” for the first time. All I know is, I’m extremely glad I did. Holy cow. This is an incredibly fun, catchy, intense, relentless and compelling album, and it might just leave you breathless at the end of its 48-minute running time. The Kvelertak boys wear their punk influences proudly on their sleeves throughout this insane beast of an album, and although I don’t know the actual ages of the members, I would say that this album has a youthful vivacity to it that can only be delivered by a group of folks who have infinite supplies of energy and stamina. The pace is fairly rapid throughout, the tone is always very high – as if the album itself is the soundtrack to a raging college party (albeit a decidedly metal-drenched one), and the listener can easily visualize the members of this band wearing either wide smiles or surprised, wide-eyed gapes like Billie Joe Armstrong from Green Day while they’re playing. Although, make no mistake – this shit is decidedly heavier and more intense than Green Day’s music – it’s more like what would happen if Green Day were genetically fused with Baroness (and maybe a little Ramones). At the end of the day, I simply can’t recommend this album highly enough for fans of almost any sub-genre of metal. If you don’t like this album, then you probably just don’t like fun (and I feel pretty sorry for you).


http://www.metalkingdom.net/album/cover/d4/26931_triptykon_eparistera_daimones.jpg
8. Triptykon – Eparistera Daimones
Before launching full-scale into this one, let me just say that I was a fairly big fan of Celtic Frost’s early work. However, I did leave camp before “Cold Lake” (which wasn’t on purpose, but thank Satan it worked out that way), and because of that, I never really considered “Monotheist” to be worth checking out. All I can say is, based on what I’ve heard on this album, I’ll be checking out “Monotheist” very soon. Holy moley. Welcome back, Thomas G. Warrior – this album is truly a sludgy monster and a true force to be reckoned with. In fact, I’ll even admit that I really only started listening to this album because I heard that Triptykon was touring and I knew I could make the show, so I figured I’d better study up before going – even if it was mainly to hear them pull out a few old Celtic Frost songs. All I can say is, Triptykon picks up where the Celtic Frost I knew and loved left off – and then some. The music is dense and emotional at certain times – downright thrashy at others – and unfathomably heavy, forlorn and angry at still others. The point is, when you make the decision to play this album, you’ve booked yourself on an extensive tour of hell itself, with a guide who knows the territory like no other. Bon voyage.


http://www.rocksound.tv/images/uploads/juliexmasalbum300.jpg
7. Julie Christmas – The Bad Wife
Back to the expected versus unexpected theme, again – I was even more clueless about what to expect from this album while I waited for a few years for it to finally be released, even though I’m very familiar with Julie’s work in Spylacopa, Battle of Mice and especially the inimitable Made Out of Babies. I wasn’t even sure if this would be a metal album, to be honest. However, mere seconds into the first track, I was pleasantly surprised to hear the heavy guitars and intense drumming which signify an oncoming deluge of heavy music (although whether or not this album is to be considered “metal” through and through is a debate for another day). The other thing I heard almost instantly was Julie’s signature I-don’t-know-what-the-fuck-you-call-it-but-I’m-hopelessly-addicted-to-it-gimme-more-right-fucking-now vocal style. I guess you’d call it creepy and disturbed, with a healthy dose of pain and longing. All I know is that it moves me. Much of this album actually sounds a lot like Julie’s work with Made Out of Babies (an obvious example being the wickedly pissed-off “Bow” – those screams!), although there are moments when she makes quite a departure from that sound (one easily identifiable example is her chilling rendition of Jacques Brel’s “Ne Me Quitte Pas”, a song which is over fifty years old, and has been covered many times by many artists, but never more chillingly than this). I mean, quite frankly, this album was guaranteed top ten status on my list just for Julie’s scream at the 1:18 mark of the aforementioned “Bow” as it is, but the simple fact is that this entire album is an intense, emotional roller-coaster of psychosis-drenched beauty that only can be delivered by the delightfully twisted Julie Christmas, who I once had a chance to meet when she toured with Made Out of Babies in Cleveland, only I chickened out because I was honestly a little bit scared to actually meet and talk to her. This album isn’t helping things much as far as that goes.


http://www.progarchives.com/progressive_rock_discography_covers/2498/cover_440101732010.jpg
6. Red Sparowes – The Fear Is Excruciating, But Therein Lies the Answer
It’s funny – when folks mention post-rock, they usually mention bands such as Mogwai, Sigur Rós, Godspeed You! Black Emperor and the like. When you ask them to think of more “metal-esque” post-rock groups, names such as Explosions in the Sky, Caspian, This Will Destroy You and Mono usually arise. The band nobody ever seems to remember is Red Sparowes…and I have no earthly idea why. Many folks have heard of them, but the name “Red Sparowes” just never seems to come to mind when people are discussing the best of the best in the post-rock arena, and in my opinion, this is either a tragic coincidence or a terrible travesty of justice. This is the third album by this insanely unique and monumentally talented outfit, which boasts present and past members of both Isis and Neurosis (so you know it’s got to be good, right?) – and to describe it in three words or less, I would choose the words “soaring”, “stirring” and “beautiful”. The signature pedal steel guitar that Red Sparowes has come to be known for over the years – as played by the group’s bassist Greg Burns – doesn’t debut until about halfway through the album, but still the sound of this album is unmistakably classic Red Sparowes. The melodies are both thoughtful and thought-provoking, speaking volumes of time and history without ever uttering a single actual word – which is exactly what this kind of music is supposed to do. There are peaks and valleys all throughout, but dissimilarly to bands such as Mono or GY!BE, it doesn’t take forever and a day to make the journey. The music is steadily mid-paced, oftentimes intense but usually surprisingly gentle, and always engrossing and compelling. The album’s closer – the chilling, creepy and ultimately cathartic “As Each End Looms and Subsides” – is perhaps the track which takes the longest time to build, but during its multiple crescendos towards the song’s end, it is one of the most rewarding and fulfilling post-rock compositions in recent memory.


http://www.metalkingdom.net/album/cover/d5/26932_lair_of_the_minotaur_evil_power.jpg
5. Lair of the Minotaur – Evil Power
Remember when I said that I could easily imagine the guys from Kvelertak grinning like goofballs while playing their music? Well, with Lair of the Minotaur, I don’t have to imagine – I’ve seen it. This power trio from Chicago joyfully plays a somewhat punk-infused brand of classic death metal which is almost entirely themed upon mythical beasts, clanking swords, a great deal of fire, and gallons upon gallons of blood – and they have a damned good time while they are doing it. Their music is not only a fully-conscious but mild parody of itself, but mostly it is an homage to the music that these guys truly love – and they gratefully and whole-heartedly embrace it for all it’s worth while playing for the pure enjoyment of it. Lair of the Minotaur is an extremely fun band both to see live and to listen to on album, and this disc takes their signature style of music and strips it down to the bare essentials – hellacious riffs, blistering speed, pounding drums, and of course, lyrics which are so much fun to sing out loud one has to be wary of one’s surroundings while listening to this album because a spontaneous exclamation such as “Let’s kill these motherfuckers!” just might pop out at an inopportune moment. In short, this album is everything a metal album should be – heavy, fast, loud, fun and engaging – plus, it evokes massive headbanging and even a singalong or two (plus, the music video for the title track – especially the uncensored version – is quite possibly the most metal thing ever made).


http://spinaltapdance.files.wordpress.com/2010/10/valley-of-smoke.jpg
4. IntrOnaut – Valley of Smoke
After the monumental masterpiece which was 2008’s “Prehistoricisms”, it was difficult for this reviewer to imagine how this insanely talented and extremely unique band could create a formidable follow-up album – and I’ll tell you one thing – I sure as hell didn’t think they would do it by using clean vocals – but they did. The third full-length album from California’s mind-bending post-metal prodigies IntrOnaut starts out with a disgustingly beautiful-but-bludgeoning bass line courtesy of fretless bass demon Joe Lester that gets heads banging right off the bat. Then the vocals kick in, and the first impression is that this album is going to be a brutally heavy landslide of odd time signatures, shouting and general mayhem – and in some cases, it is (except that the mayhem, ironically, has the precision of a Swiss watch at all times). However, a bit later in the track, the first of many clean vocals comes floating out of the speakers, and the listener is brought to the realization that whatever he / she was expecting…ain’t gonna happen. In just under fifty minutes, this band of expert musicians takes the listener on a sonic journey like no other – twisting through mind-bending melodies with a deftness that only the most talented of bands could even hope to achieve. In short, this album is a raging, burly gorilla at times, a deceptively smart velociraptor at others, and a stealthy cheetah at still others – but one thing’s for sure – you’re probably going to get your fucking face ripped off. Enjoy!


http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_-2Yht5KS6bk/S73njm-E7fI/AAAAAAAABy0/dZYdD4FDfxU/s320/theocean.jpg
3. The Ocean – Heliocentric
It seems as if line-up changes have always been a constant for this experimental German post-metal outfit, which has always been led by Robin Staps, but has included literally dozens of other members – both permanent and collaborative – over the years. In fact, the group’s membership is so fluid that they are often referred to as The Ocean Collective.

Accordingly, “Heliocentric” marks the recording debut of vocalist Loic Rossetti, who provides a range of different vocal styles on an album which is itself a demonstration of perhaps the widest range of musical styles within an album from this band to date (and this is an outfit which is already known for having a wide sonic range). The vocals are, quite simply, astounding. The harsher screams are evocative of those which can be heard on much of The Ocean’s earlier work, and they are sufficient for their purpose – but it is the clean vocals (which again, are really nothing new for The Ocean) that are one of the true signature aspects of this fine album. Often, Rossetti’s vocals change from full screams to beautiful melodies almost instantaneously. This provides an additional level of beauty to the songs, which are already incredibly complex, yet well-written.

Also, a very wide range of instrumentation is used on this album – which again, is not completely unusual for this band – but the range of instrumentation used here is perhaps the widest yet for The Ocean. The best part of this aspect of the album is the skill with which the additional instruments are used. Instead of being employed merely on a whim or pretentiously to show a high degree of skill, the added parts are instead rather fitting and altogether complementary to the songs. Various strings can be heard at different points, as well as a variety of horns such as saxophone, trumpet and trombone. In fact, a total of eleven additional musicians – besides the five permanent band members – contribute to this beautiful album.

Last but certainly not least, the album is one of two volumes released in 2010, which together form a concept album which form a critique of Christianity from different philosophical and personal angles. The lyrics are thought-provoking and powerful, and again, this adds yet another layer of appeal to this outstanding album.


http://shop.relapse.com/dbimages/sleeves/52670_216.jpg
2. Ludicra – The Tenant
In 2008, my year-end list included a #1 and #2 pick that were a great struggle for me to ultimately differentiate. Meshuggah’s phenomenal powerhouse “obZen” managed to eke out the top spot against the now-defunct Swedish progressive post-metal(core?) outfit Burst’s masterpiece Lazarus Bird. The former was a relentless, punishing assault on the senses, whereas the latter was a beautiful, progressive (yet still plenty heavy in places) work of art that literally gave me goosebumps on more than one occasion.

Two years later, a similar pattern has emerged. Ludicra’s incredibly beautiful-yet-crushing magnum opus (at least up to this point) has been eclipsed by only the narrowest of margins by the stalwart powerhouse that is “Snakes for the Divine”. Call it survival of the fittest, if you will. Such is the way of the world; such is the way of metal.

However, if lists like these were based only on albums which demonstrated perfect combinations of carefully-balanced beauty and power (as some would argue that perhaps they should be), then “The Tenant” would indeed reign supreme this year – at least, on this reviewer’s list. It is a truly wonderful and vital album, and like its competitor “Snakes for the Divine”, includes nothing but highly compelling music – there is literally no filler here.

The album simply drips with memorable passages (to call them “riffs” I fear would be crass), and the songs flow effortlessly into one another. The musicianship, songwriting and production values on this album are all superb. In the end, all that stood between this album and the number one spot on this year’s list for me was a burly behemoth named High on Fire, and as I said, such is the way of metal.


http://www.brokenbeard.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/high-on-fire-snakes-for-the-divine-300x300.jpg
1. High On Fire – Snakes For The Divine
Typically, my criteria for Album of the Year are simple. The album has to be perfect (or at least, closer to perfect than all other releases I heard that year). The reasons I feel comfortable labeling this album as “perfect” (or close enough), are primarily that all of the tracks are essential (the only “filler” track is “Path”, which is actually an intro for the following track “Fire, Flood and Plague”), the production value of the album is not only very good but well-suited to the music, and that every song on the album makes me want to bang my head fiercely. The fact that the version of the album I own also includes bonus tracks “Mystery of Helm” as well as live versions of perennial favorites “Eyes and Teeth” and “Cometh Down Hessian” are just a bonus.

As I stated above, many other excellent albums finally did emerge as 2010 marched on, but none of them managed to supplant “Snakes for the Divine” in my listening queue for very long. This album was a stalwart companion for me on many a long car ride as well as a personal trainer of sorts for many a workout in the gym. The songs on this album are some of the best – and most experimental as well, in some cases – that High on Fire has ever written, and that’s saying a lot. The title track is a monster, with a killer intro such as High on Fire have never written or performed before, and many tasty riffs / solos galore. “Frost Hammer” is another beast, with some of the best vocals and drumming of Pike’s and Kensel’s careers thus far. The appeal of the experimental (at least by High on Fire standards) track “Bastard Samurai” is only surpassed by its sublime presence when played live. The point is, this album is the total package, and it may ultimately prove to be High on Fire’s finest album to date.

When a band this good releases a collection of songs that are this solid, it’s awfully difficult – and in this case, impossible – to keep from elevating the collection it to sublime status – and so, for the above reasons as well as many others still left unstated, High on Fire’s “Snakes for the Divine” is simply my favorite metal album of 2010.

MPF
04-07-2011, 12:00 PM
Now this was as a monster Orgy!

Great list all around!

Natrlhi
04-07-2011, 12:15 PM
^ Thanks, brother.

I gotta figure out a different way of doing it this year - this April shit is just embarrassing. :bouville:

I've written reviews in an ever-expanding Word document as the year goes along in the past - the problem I found with that approach is that (1) I have to be consistently proactive, which I'm not very good at :snivel:, and (2) sometimes my opinions on an album change over time - I ended up having to re-write a few reviews at the end of the year because I wasn't happy with what I said back in the beginning of the year.

Anyway, I'm sure I'll figure out a better system one day. In the meantime, thanks for reading. :fist:

jhdeity
04-07-2011, 03:23 PM
Great list. I'm wondering if my newly found tolerance for some post rock and ambient stuff will allow me to go back and actually "get" some of these albums. I 1st heard Ludicra over a year ago and didn't get it in any way. I like Red Sparowes at 1st listen but was into such heavier stuff at the time that it never got a 2nd listen.

I finally get Long Distance Calling but Mogwai does nothing for me so it should be interesting.

Snakes gets better with every listen. I used to jam the 1st half and select cuts but now it's an all the way through cd. Still pissed I missed these guys live

Natrlhi
04-07-2011, 03:42 PM
Great list. I'm wondering if my newly found tolerance for some post rock and ambient stuff will allow me to go back and actually "get" some of these albums. I 1st heard Ludicra over a year ago and didn't get it in any way. I like Red Sparowes at 1st listen but was into such heavier stuff at the time that it never got a 2nd listen.

I finally get Long Distance Calling but Mogwai does nothing for me so it should be interesting.

Snakes gets better with every listen. I used to jam the 1st half and select cuts but now it's an all the way through cd. Still pissed I missed these guys liveDo I take this correctly to mean that you've never seen them live?

jhdeity
04-07-2011, 05:13 PM
Do I take this correctly to mean that you've never seen them live?

I saw them as an Opening act and that's how I 1st heard about them. I didn't make the Sleep connection until a year or so after that show.

I had a ticket to last years show with HoF headlining but went to Opening Day and was too hung over to make it. It sucks when 2 or 3 shots makes the difference in going ot not going to a show... then regretting it.

illuminatus917
04-07-2011, 08:40 PM
I gotta figure out a different way of doing it this year - this April shit is just embarrassing. :bouville:


If it takes 'til April, it takes 'til April. Better to do it late than not do it at all. I've really enjoyed your list... it's given me some new stuff to check out. Snake My Charms is great.

Natrlhi
04-08-2011, 08:55 PM
I saw them as an Opening act...Well, that's better than nothing, but knowing what you know now about their body of work as a whole and their awesomeness as a band, I'm sure you can appreciate that seeing them live as a headliner would be fucking tits (and it is). :fist:

I have faith you'll make it happen soon enough - and let's just say you're more than likely gonna be in for a real treat. Something to look forward to...

If it takes 'til April, it takes 'til April. Better to do it late than not do it at all. I've really enjoyed your list... it's given me some new stuff to check out. Snake My Charms is great.Sincerest thanks for that comment - you've completely validated the fact that even though I was somewhat embarrassed by how long it took, I kept at it and cranked it out. As I said a few posts earlier - it's about recognizing great music to me, and it sounds like that's what happened. I'm especially stoked that you picked up on one of the most obscure albums on my list...those No Hawaii dudes are the shit. Helluva debut album, eh? I suspect next to no one knows who they are, but if I can get a few folks interested, and they tell a few folks, who knows what might happen? Regardless if the word spreads or not, I'm damn glad someone else got to enjoy that awesome album. :fist:

You just made my day, brother! :brofist:

jhdeity
04-18-2011, 03:45 PM
Yeah I think I'd appreciate it more now too. I was a bigger Sleep fan than High on Fire back then but HoF finally clicked with me on a way higher level.

Snakes still gets better with every listen and recently I've found myself jamming Surrounded by Thieves more than usual. Why this band isn't way bigger than they are is a shock to me.

JRA
04-18-2011, 08:19 PM
http://www.brokenbeard.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/high-on-fire-snakes-for-the-divine-300x300.jpg
1. High On Fire – Snakes For The Divine
Typically, my criteria for Album of the Year are simple. The album has to be perfect (or at least, closer to perfect than all other releases I heard that year). The reasons I feel comfortable labeling this album as “perfect” (or close enough), are primarily that all of the tracks are essential (the only “filler” track is “Path”, which is actually an intro for the following track “Fire, Flood and Plague”), the production value of the album is not only very good but well-suited to the music, and that every song on the album makes me want to bang my head fiercely. The fact that the version of the album I own also includes bonus tracks “Mystery of Helm” as well as live versions of perennial favorites “Eyes and Teeth” and “Cometh Down Hessian” are just a bonus.

As I stated above, many other excellent albums finally did emerge as 2010 marched on, but none of them managed to supplant “Snakes for the Divine” in my listening queue for very long. This album was a stalwart companion for me on many a long car ride as well as a personal trainer of sorts for many a workout in the gym. The songs on this album are some of the best – and most experimental as well, in some cases – that High on Fire has ever written, and that’s saying a lot. The title track is a monster, with a killer intro such as High on Fire have never written or performed before, and many tasty riffs / solos galore. “Frost Hammer” is another beast, with some of the best vocals and drumming of Pike’s and Kensel’s careers thus far. The appeal of the experimental (at least by High on Fire standards) track “Bastard Samurai” is only surpassed by its sublime presence when played live. The point is, this album is the total package, and it may ultimately prove to be High on Fire’s finest album to date.

When a band this good releases a collection of songs that are this solid, it’s awfully difficult – and in this case, impossible – to keep from elevating the collection it to sublime status – and so, for the above reasons as well as many others still left unstated, High on Fire’s “Snakes for the Divine” is simply my favorite metal album of 2010.


Fuck yeah! Nice to know that as little as I listen to new music my favorite album of last year is also the favorite of someone whose considerably more well versed.

Now I know I'm right when I include this in my 100 greatest metal albums of all time.

Natrlhi
04-19-2011, 01:01 PM
Fuck yeah! Nice to know that as little as I listen to new music my favorite album of last year is also the favorite of someone whose considerably more well versed.

Now I know I'm right when I include this in my 100 greatest metal albums of all time.It really is worthy of a list like that. I'll be the first to admit that I get a thrill from having something like Cobalt's "Gin" in my number one spot at the end of the year - because not everybody knows about it, and I feel like I'm sharing something special (or something like that).

But the more I thought about how often I played "Snakes" during 2010, and the way I felt before pressing play, the way I felt when it was on, and so forth...there was just no more compelling album than that for me in 2010. The staying power of that album is phenomenal. People will be talking about it for years, if not decades.