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illuminatus917
11-27-2011, 04:51 PM
So the end of the year is quickly approaching. I think I'm speaking for nearly everyone when I say this has been an incredible year for music. I've been in to metal for about 7 or 8 years now, and while I haven't always paid as much attention to new releases as I have for the past two or three years, I can easily say there have been more stellar to excellent albums released this year than any other year I can remember. And I wouldn't feel right if I didn't credit this site in part. If it were't for you guys I wouldn't have found near what I've found now. Many thanks to Metal Set Lists and to all of you who have aided in exposing me to new and awesome material.

So, I've decided to jump on the "make a list" bandwagon and present my top 55 releases of 2011.

Okay, so here's how this is going to work. I'd originally intended on a 50 album list. After some late listens and revamping, and unwillingness to omit certain albums I'd already written blurbs for that had a spot on the list, I expanded it to 55. Here are some things you should expect, or keep in mind, as you read my list (if you choose to do so):

--No eyebrows should be raised when non-metal albums show up on the list. I assure you, there will be many. Metal should be the predominant genre, though.

--Expect reviews to become lengthier as the list progresses.

--Please keep in mind I haven't heard even a fraction of all the material released this year. In a way I feel guilty for even attempting an end-of-year list being ignorant of so many new releases.

--Know my interests are mostly in doom metal, black metal, and post-rock. If you're in to any -core, including grind, or tech-death, brutal death, deathgrind, power, etc, just don't expect to find a great deal here. There will be some death metal albums in the list, but no -core or sub death genres other than melodeath. ...Just a head's up.

--Please keep in mind my favorite albums are highly assessed on their emotional value to myself. Of course, emotional value is highly subjective. For this reason, this list is strictly "my favorite/what I perceive to be the best albums of the year." Not "the best albums of the year."

--Anaal Nathrakh will not be on the list. So to those of you preparing to give me shit for not including them, :finger:

--As you read, please don't hesitate to agree, approve, assess, share your thoughts, criticize, berate, etc anything I post here.


...Please stand by while my list is being finalized...

es156
11-27-2011, 05:58 PM
--Anaal Nathrakh will not be on the list. So to those of you preparing to give me shit for not including them, :finger:

Way to kill the suspense! :mad:



--As you read, please don't hesitate to agree, approve, assess, share your thoughts, criticize, berate, etc anything I post here.


I don't think you need to worry about that around here. ;)

Natrlhi
11-27-2011, 05:59 PM
Looking forward to this...

mankvill
11-27-2011, 06:45 PM
well if there's no anaal nathrakh then this list will undoubtedly be 100% SHIT

Natrlhi
11-28-2011, 06:21 AM
well if there's no anaal nathrakh then this list will undoubtedly be 100% SHITWe're all shocked to hear you say this. :rolleyes: :finger:

Epidemic Reign
11-28-2011, 06:24 AM
Silly manks, never happy without anaal.

BloodoftheKings
11-28-2011, 06:25 AM
Silly manks, never happy without anaal.

:lol:

street_burial
11-28-2011, 08:59 AM
-- If you're in to any -core, including grind, or tech-death, brutal death, deathgrind, power, etc, just don't expect to find a great deal here. There will be some death metal albums in the list, but no -core or sub death genres other than melodeath. ...Just a head's up.



hmmmm you have piqued my interest with this statement. i now look forward to what is going to be a part of this list

Natrlhi
11-28-2011, 09:34 AM
Silly manks, never happy without anaal.That's just how he rolls, bitch.
http://24.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_l4i99oHE0Z1qbmkcco1_500.jpg

illuminatus917
11-28-2011, 09:43 AM
Looking forward to this...

hmmmm you have piqued my interest with this statement. i now look forward to what is going to be a part of this list

:fist:

Looking forward to yours too Natrlhi, even if it takes 'til July ;)

Natrlhi
11-28-2011, 09:50 AM
:fist:

Looking forward to yours too Natrlhi, even if it takes 'til July ;):lol: It just might.

illuminatus917
11-28-2011, 12:07 PM
Okay, before we begin with the best releases of the year...



MOST DISAPPOINTING RELEASES:


Morbid Angel - Illud Divinum Insanus
Didn't hate it as much as some did, but I was hardly impressed. My expectations were virtually nonexistent, so in that regard it didn't hit me too hard. Illud Divinium's being analogous to St. Anger isn't all that far off, though. It sucks to see awesome, highly respected bands sink this low.

Glasvegas - Euphoric Heartbreak
Considering I considered their debut excellent, this one really disappointed me. Unlike the debut, this one really just doesn't deliver anything. The band's attempt to beseech the sound of ambition fell short. No ice cream van this time.

Nicole Atkins - Mondo Amore
Not as disappointing as Euphoric Heartbreak, but it was no Neptune City. "Hotel Plaster" and "Heavy Boots" are the only tracks I really liked, the latter being the best track on the album.

Explosions in the Sky - Take Care, Take Care, Take Care
Unfortunately, I think these guys have fallen victim to the monotonous second-wave post-rock rut. Their first three albums and All of a Sudden I Miss Everyone were, for the most part, exceptionally fabulous albums. I've just got the feeling that their - what seems to be - inability to branch out will render them on the obsolete end of newer, more creative and innovative, post-rock. Still, never hesitate to see these guys live; they're incredible.

Deicide - To Hell With god
As I've said, I'm not the huge fan of death metal I was at one point, but jeez this album was bad. There's not one redeeming quality about anything this record has to offer. Poor songwriting, poor vocals, poor guitar riffs, no likable material here whatsoever. It's most disheartening considering the potential these guys have… or use to have. It's not surprising though. Other than The Stench of Redemption, they haven't done anything great since the 90's.

Opeth - Heritage
Arguably the most polarizing release of the year. For me, perhaps the most disheartening release of the year. For the longest time I seriously thought Opeth was at the top of the "current bands making fantastic music" list. As many have pointed out, by taking out heaviness they surrendered their forte: dynamics. And I wasn't one of the folks that opposed the idea of a softer album at first. I just opposed it after I heard it. This thing puts you to sleep. As one poster said on metal archives, this is a half-baked retro regressive progressive rock album. I can see how some might think it's a decent prog rock album, but I can't see, or understand, it being anywhere near the top of the 2011 list.



BEST SPLITS:


http://img545.imageshack.us/img545/4099/rszpermixtiosplit.png (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/545/rszpermixtiosplit.png/)
#1 Permixtio/Ethere

Permixtio's 2010 release, Il Canto dei Sepolcri was among my favorite black metal albums released last year, and the three tracks here don't miss a beat. Actually, they show improvement. Just like last year's full-length, this split grabbed me and didn't let go. The first instrument heard is a xylophone, or so it sounds, and this is all we hear for the first minute and five seconds before an awesomely tuned guitar rips in and plays a riff for a while and before too long we have black metal. The second track by Permixtio is the best on the split. This track is just incredible. In fact it's 3:16 of some of the most emotional music this year. A basic, soft guitar riff and beautiful melodic soloing over it. Even though I can't find the lyrics, and even if I could it'd be irrelevant since Umbra writes his lyrics in Latin and my Latin vocabulary is hardly comprehensive, Permixtio is definitely cited as being in the depressive/suicidal black metal scene. I'm not too terribly familiar with this because I don't know what defines suicidal black metal other than lyrical content, and given that, it's genre might not be a testament to its sound. But given how much I like these three tracks I might look further into it. Ethere is interesting too. It's very atmospheric black metal, and even spacey perhaps, but while it doesn't appeal to me to the extent Permixtio does (even though in ways it's better) it's definitely leaving room to grow.


http://img842.imageshack.us/img842/4961/rszdotdotdotdeadvidharr.jpg (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/842/rszdotdotdotdeadvidharr.jpg/)
#2 .../Dead/Vidharr - Cold Journey Through Madness

Cold Journey Through Madness is the title of this split, and that title is fairly representative of what we hear. Clocking in at fifty-one minutes, and featuring three different artists, all specializing in depressive black metal, this split is worthy of being amongst the higher ranks of this year's releases. The first two tracks, "Cytostaticum," and "Exploring Secret Hideaways of the Mind Through Apathy" are very soft and ambient-type tracks, featuring gentle post-rock esque guitar work, piano, and BM screeches before Dead's "Mental Disorders" brings us an aggressive barrage of violently executed, dense, black metal. Dead's two tracks are my least favorite, though that doesn't mean they're not well written. Vidharr's tracks are much more doomy black metal. ... / Dead / Vidharr wins 2nd because its length to substance ratio is higher than any other split I heard this year.
HIGHLIGHTS: "Cytostaticum," "Exploring Secret Hideaways of the Mind Through Apathy," "Void," "Processed"


http://img706.imageshack.us/img706/948/rszstarkweatherovermars.jpg (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/706/rszstarkweatherovermars.jpg/)
#3 Starkweather/Overmars

I was gleeful when I finally heard this. Overmars has written some of the neatest stuff in the doom metal department I've heard. Affliction, Endocrine...Vertigo in 2005 and Born Again in 2007 for anyone unfamiliar with them, the latter being their last release save a ten-minute EP they put out in 2008. They best get on their game and put out another album soon. The two tracks here by Overmars include "Solitary/Following the Sperm Whale (Once Again)" and "Last Sail Sinking," both of which are great, especially the foremost. It's typical weird, experimental, avant-garde, doom/sludge Overmars. "Last Sail Sinking" features vocals from the brilliant female vocalist we heard in Born Again (I believe her name is Marion?). I read somewhere she's no longer in the band but she's sure enough featured in this split. These songs don't seem as heavy as the Born Again track, but they're awesome enough.
HIGHLIGHTS: "Solitary - Following The Sperm Whale (Once Again)," "Last Sail Sinking"


http://img826.imageshack.us/img826/2366/flightofsleipnirsplit.jpg (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/826/flightofsleipnirsplit.jpg/)
#4 Apostle of Solitude/Rituals of the Oak/The Flight of Sleipnir

Rituals of the Oak's one contribution, "Hallward," is the highlight of this release - all 17 minutes of it. As you'd guess, this is a doom split all the way around with different doom elements in the different contributions, but Hallward stands out as far and away the most complex, well-constructed track here (with female vocals, for you female-fronted doom enthusiasts).


http://img337.imageshack.us/img337/6544/rszmammothgrinderhatred.jpg (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/337/rszmammothgrinderhatred.jpg/)
#5 Mammoth Grinder/Hatred Surge

There's some real tasty death metal here with some excellent riffing going on. Mammoth Grinder > Hatred Surge, so naturally their tracks are better. Hatred Surge is predominantly grindcore, but the last track, "Supernova," slows down a bit and is centered around a crushingly heavy riff that's highly satisfying and easy to get behind. The one and two minute songs Hatred Surge provides ("Invega," "Disconnected," and "Mood Stabilizer") are garbage.
HIGHLIGHTS: "Pulverizer," "Survielad," "Supernova"


http://img716.imageshack.us/img716/715/rszmealannannorkothchap.jpg (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/716/rszmealannannorkothchap.jpg/)
#6 Mealann/Annorkoth - Chapters of Cold

Pretty ambient music is what this is. But it's not all that quiet... it's more like really rich, atmospheric ambient music. Not overly melodic. These bands just do a nice job of painting a landscape. Annorkoth is actually a black metal outfit from Podolsk, but none of the tracks on this split really resemble black metal.


http://img683.imageshack.us/img683/2438/rszcircleofouroborusdro.jpg (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/683/rszcircleofouroborusdro.jpg/)
#7 Circle of Ouroborus/Drowning the Light - Moonflares

Circle of Ouroborus have a very soft black metal sound. It's not necessarily what I would call ambient, but it's soft. No blast beating here. Very light drums, no heavy guitar or bass. The lack of noise makes the vocals really interesting to listen to, because they're the center of focus. Anyone interested in chill, unheavy black metal... check this out. Now when we get to Drowning The Light's portion of this split, it's somewhat different. Fast-paced, distorted, lo-fi black metal is what we get here.


Other split that may be of interest to others:

Searing Skull / Hasserben (highly recommended if you like BM with low production quality... this one had some great stuff going on, especially from Hasserben)




BEST DEMO:


http://img830.imageshack.us/img830/6451/spin040vastumweb.jpg (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/830/spin040vastumweb.jpg/)
Vastum - Carnal Law

Now this thing really impressed me. Vastum has been a band since 2009, and though they haven't released anything prior to this I've read they've played quite a few shows in the Bay Area and acquired a decent amount of attention. Well let me be the first to say this demo makes Vastum deserving of any attention they've received. This isn't some low quality poorly written garage recording... this is a heavy, intelligently written, professional sounding death metal record. In fact it wouldn't be out of line to compare this record to Eparistera Daimones. It has that heavy pounding rhythm to it (not as heavy as Eparistera Daimones, but pretty heavy). Fans of Hooded Menace or Autopsy are strongly advised to check it out. It's got a classic death metal feel to it while maintaining a modern black and doom influence. I'm definitely going to keep my eyes on these guys. They're accomplished songwriters and they've written some very promising material here.



BEST LIVE RECORDING:


http://img23.imageshack.us/img23/7516/innic.jpg (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/23/innic.jpg/)
Sigur Rós - Inni

Technically this was recorded in 2008, but it was released this year. Anything Sigur Rós does is gold. They're one of the greatest things to ever happen to music. If you like them at all, you'll like Inni. There's a rumored tour for 2012, and a rumored album, so we'll see what comes of that.


I would do a "Best EP's" list, but there are so many EP's in my top 55 it'd be pointless.

Natrlhi
11-28-2011, 12:11 PM
Morbid Angel - Illud Divinum Insanus
Didn't hate it as much as some did, but I was hardly impressed. My expectations were virtually nonexistent, so in that regard it didn't hit me too hard. Illud Divinium's being analogous to St. Anger isn't all that far off, though. It sucks to see awesome, highly respected bands sink this low.Duh.

This Will Destroy You - Tunnel Blanket
Unfortunately, I think these guys have fallen victim to the monotonous second-wave post-rock rut. Their first two albums were, for the most part, exceptionally fabulous albums. I've just got the feeling that their - what seems to be - inability to branch out will render them on the obsolete end of newer, more creative and innovative, post-rock. Still, never hesitate to see these guys live; they're incredible.Fixed that for ya.

street_burial
11-28-2011, 12:14 PM
Opeth - Heritage
Arguably the most polarizing release of the year. For me, perhaps the most disheartening release of the year. For the longest time I seriously thought Opeth was at the top of the "current bands making fantastic music" list. As many have pointed out, by taking out heaviness they surrendered their forte: dynamics. And I wasn't one of the folks that opposed the idea of a softer album at first. I just opposed it after I heard it. This thing puts you to sleep. As one poster said on metal archives, this is a half-baked retro regressive progressive rock album. I can see how some might think it's a decent prog rock album, but I can't see, or understand, it being anywhere near the top of the 2011 list.






FINALLY someone who agree's with me. Everyone that lives around me sucks Opeth's dick and thinks this was the greatest thing released since the first BTBAM album

illuminatus917
11-28-2011, 12:20 PM
FINALLY someone who agree's with me. Everyone that lives around me sucks Opeth's dick and thinks this was the greatest thing released since the first BTBAM album
Automatic loss of credibility. BTBAM is good and all, but there are far better albums that could be put in that comparison.

Seventhzealot
11-28-2011, 12:34 PM
Opeth - Heritage
Arguably the most polarizing release of the year. For me, perhaps the most disheartening release of the year. For the longest time I seriously thought Opeth was at the top of the "current bands making fantastic music" list. As many have pointed out, by taking out heaviness they surrendered their forte: dynamics. And I wasn't one of the folks that opposed the idea of a softer album at first. I just opposed it after I heard it. This thing puts you to sleep. As one poster said on metal archives, this is a half-baked retro regressive progressive rock album. I can see how some might think it's a decent prog rock album, but I can't see, or understand, it being anywhere near the top of the 2011 list.





Not that I think 'Heritage' was one of the stellar releases of 2011 but it slowly grew on me, probably more so after seeing some of those songs played live.

street_burial
11-28-2011, 12:46 PM
[/B]
Automatic loss of credibility. BTBAM is good and all, but there are far better albums that could be put in that comparison.

That's what i try to tell them but nope they have to be completely close-minded.

larvtard
11-28-2011, 12:57 PM
Deicide - To Hell With god
As I've said, I'm not the huge fan of death metal I was at one point, but jeez this album was bad. There's not one redeeming quality about anything this record has to offer. Poor songwriting, poor vocals, poor guitar riffs, no likable material here whatsoever. It's most disheartening considering the potential these guys have… or use to have. It's not surprising though. Other than The Stench of Redemption, they haven't done anything great since the 90's.

Used to love this album but now it sorta annoys me, to be honest. Was in my top 10 a couple months ago, now it's not even in my top 25.

http://img842.imageshack.us/img842/4961/rszdotdotdotdeadvidharr.jpg (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/842/rszdotdotdotdeadvidharr.jpg/)
#2 .../Dead/Vidharr - Cold Journey Through Madness

Cold Journey Through Madness is the title of this split, and that title is fairly representative of what we hear. Clocking in at fifty-one minutes, and featuring three different artists, all specializing in depressive black metal, this split is worthy of being amongst the higher ranks of this year's releases. The first two tracks, "Cytostaticum," and "Exploring Secret Hideaways of the Mind Through Apathy" are very soft and ambient-type tracks, featuring gentle post-rock esque guitar work, piano, and BM screeches before Dead's "Mental Disorders" brings us an aggressive barrage of violently executed, dense, black metal. Dead's two tracks are my least favorite, though that doesn't mean they're not well written. Vidharr's tracks are much more doomy black metal. ... / Dead / Vidharr wins 2nd because its length to substance ratio is higher than any other split I heard this year.
HIGHLIGHTS: "Cytostaticum," "Exploring Secret Hideaways of the Mind Through Apathy," "Void," "Processed"

I actually really like that Dead song... brilliant atmopshere. But, like most suicidal black metal, fucking atrocious production. Dunno if I'll bother downloading it.

http://img706.imageshack.us/img706/948/rszstarkweatherovermars.jpg (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/706/rszstarkweatherovermars.jpg/)
#3 Starkweather/Overmars

I was gleeful when I finally heard this. Overmars has written some of the neatest stuff in the doom metal department I've heard. Affliction, Endocrine...Vertigo in 2005 and Born Again in 2007 for anyone unfamiliar with them, the latter being their last release save a ten-minute EP they put out in 2008. They best get on their game and put out another album soon. The two tracks here by Overmars include "Solitary/Following the Sperm Whale (Once Again)" and "Last Sail Sinking," both of which are great, especially the foremost. It's typical weird, experimental, avant-garde, doom/sludge Overmars. "Last Sail Sinking" features vocals from the brilliant female vocalist we heard in Born Again (I believe her name is Marion?). I read somewhere she's no longer in the band but she's sure enough featured in this split. These songs don't seem as heavy as the Born Again track, but they're awesome enough.
HIGHLIGHTS: "Solitary - Following The Sperm Whale (Once Again)," "Last Sail Sinking"

Someone hasn't uploaded this to YouTube...also, you didn't even mention Starkweather :confused: :lol:

http://img826.imageshack.us/img826/2366/flightofsleipnirsplit.jpg (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/826/flightofsleipnirsplit.jpg/)
#4 Apostle of Solitude/Rituals of the Oak/The Flight of Sleipnir

Rituals of the Oak's one contribution, "Hallward," is the highlight of this release - all 17 minutes of it. As you'd guess, this is a doom split all the way around with different doom elements in the different contributions, but Hallward stands out as far and away the most complex, well-constructed track here (with female vocals, for you female-fronted doom enthusiasts).

"Hallward" sounded pretty good for the first four minutes, but goddamn, I don't have the attention span to hear a band play the same note for 17 minutes (BECAUSE THAT'S WHAT DOOM IS, GET IT?? HURHURHUR)
Other two bands sound cool, too, especially Flight of Sleipnir.

http://img337.imageshack.us/img337/6544/rszmammothgrinderhatred.jpg (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/337/rszmammothgrinderhatred.jpg/)
#5 Mammoth Grinder/Hatred Surge

There's some real tasty death metal here with some excellent riffing going on. Mammoth Grinder > Hatred Surge, so naturally their tracks are better. Hatred Surge is predominantly grindcore, but the last track, "Supernova," slows down a bit and is centered around a crushingly heavy riff that's highly satisfying and easy to get behind. The one and two minute songs Hatred Surge provides ("Invega," "Disconnected," and "Mood Stabilizer") are garbage.
HIGHLIGHTS: "Pulverizer," "Survielad," "Supernova"

It's all right.

http://img830.imageshack.us/img830/6451/spin040vastumweb.jpg (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/830/spin040vastumweb.jpg/)
Vastum - Carnal Law

Now this thing really impressed me. Vastum has been a band since 2009, and though they haven't released anything prior to this I've read they've played quite a few shows in the Bay Area and acquired a decent amount of attention. Well let me be the first to say this demo makes Vastum deserving of any attention they've received. This isn't some low quality poorly written garage recording... this is a heavy, intelligently written, professional sounding death metal record. In fact it wouldn't be out of line to compare this record to Eparistera Daimones. It has that heavy pounding rhythm to it (not as heavy as Eparistera Daimones, but pretty heavy). Fans of Hooded Menace or Autopsy are strongly advised to check it out. It's got a classic death metal feel to it while maintaining a modern black and doom influence. I'm definitely going to keep my eyes on these guys. They're accomplished songwriters and they've written some very promising material here.

I'm usually a fan of crusty death metal, but meh.



hi

Spiner202
11-28-2011, 01:05 PM
Deicide - To Hell With god
As I've said, I'm not the huge fan of death metal I was at one point, but jeez this album was bad. There's not one redeeming quality about anything this record has to offer. Poor songwriting, poor vocals, poor guitar riffs, no likable material here whatsoever. It's most disheartening considering the potential these guys have… or use to have. It's not surprising though. Other than The Stench of Redemption, they haven't done anything great since the 90's.


I feel the complete opposite of this. The vocals are way better than they were on Stench. Tons of catchy riffs (How Can You Call Yourself a God and Hang In Agony Until You're Dead come to mind). While I do agree they haven't put out anything great since the 90's, I really liked the new album and Scars of The Crucifix. And obviously The Stench of Redemption was enjoyable.

hb420
11-28-2011, 01:26 PM
Feel the exact same way about the Explosions In The Sky album. Opeth I thought was great. It was to me I step they needed to take to tune their progressive side. I hope in the future even if its unlikely, have their next release as progged out as this but with the death metal back in the fold. Nice picks with the Flight of the Slepnir split and the Vastum demo. Both are really great, Vastum if it was longer could have taken the top DM spot for me.

mankvill
11-28-2011, 01:32 PM
Man I really thought To Hell With God was great, much better than their last album!

ShatteredFlame
11-28-2011, 02:26 PM
shit i didn't even know Starkweather released something new...and yeah u didn't even mention them :confused:

I've never heard of Overmars myself.

illuminatus917
11-28-2011, 02:34 PM
I feel the complete opposite of this. The vocals are way better than they were on Stench. Tons of catchy riffs (How Can You Call Yourself a God and Hang In Agony Until You're Dead come to mind). While I do agree they haven't put out anything great since the 90's, I really liked the new album and Scars of The Crucifix. And obviously The Stench of Redemption was enjoyable.

Man I really thought To Hell With God was great, much better than their last album!

Really? I didn't expect this. Maybe I missed something. I enjoyed the leads on this album, but honestly that's about it. There was just an intriguing aspect about older Deicide, and I'll never truly be satisfied until I feel that in their music again.

Nice picks with the Flight of the Slepnir split and the Vastum demo. Both are really great, Vastum if it was longer could have taken the top DM spot for me.

The tracks on the Flight of Sleipnir split (by The Flight of Speipnir) are better than a lot of the tracks on Essence of Nine. And yeah, that Vastum is great. I don't know what Larv's smokin', there's nothing "meh" about that demo. ;)

slapguitarer
11-28-2011, 06:09 PM
I agree with you on the new Opeth.

illuminatus917
11-29-2011, 10:15 PM
Jesus, there've been so many Year-end threads mine has been lost in the deep recesses of page 1 in less than 24 hours.

I've decided to do what Natrlhi does... in attempt to justify certain omissions, I will go ahead and announce that I have not listened to the following albums, nor am I going to before the end of the year:

Belphegor - Blood Magic Necromance
Skeletonwitch - Forever Abomination
Profetus - ...to Open the Passages in Dusk (this one isn't released until Dec 31)
Dream Theater - A Dramatic Turn of Events
Dekadent - Venera: Trial & Tribulation
Heiden - Delores (Sorry HB420)
Red Fang - Murder the Mountains
Hammers of Misfortune - 17th Street

These are just some that come to mind that might've made the top 55 had I listened to them. List to begin sometime in the next day or two.

mankvill
11-29-2011, 10:40 PM
Just sayin, I thought Skeletonwitch was way better than their last album!

Seventhzealot
11-29-2011, 10:50 PM
Jesus, there've been so many Year-end threads mine has been lost in the deep recesses of page 1 in less than 24 hours.

I've decided to do what Natrlhi does... in attempt to justify certain omissions, I will go ahead and announce that I have not listened to the following albums, nor am I going to before the end of the year:

Belphegor - Blood Magic Necromance
Skeletonwitch - Forever Abomination
Profetus - ...to Open the Passages in Dusk (this one isn't released until Dec 31)
Dream Theater - A Dramatic Turn of Events
Dekadent - Venera: Trial & Tribulation
Heiden - Delores (Sorry HB420)
Red Fang - Murder the Mountains
Hammers of Misfortune - 17th Street

These are just some that come to mind that might've made the top 55 had I listened to them. List to begin sometime in the next day or two.

Interesting. One or maybe two of these will make it to my list I guess.

illuminatus917
11-30-2011, 08:24 AM
http://img406.imageshack.us/img406/9638/beileid.jpg (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/406/beileid.jpg/)
#55 Bohren & Der Club of Gore - Beileid

I can't claim familiarity with ambient jazz/blues. I came across Beileid the same way I come across a lot of albums: it was recommended in a review that gave a high rating to an album I thought excellent. So I thought I'd give it a listen. The middle track, "Catch My Heart," is a Warlock cover featuring Mike Patton from Faith No More. And it's the only track with vocals. This record is extremely slow paced, minimalistic, and atmospheric. Usually anything with a saxophone can acquire my attention somehow, though. One YouTuber pointed out, correctly, that these guys seem influenced by the ambient side of Burzum, and metal ambient aesthetics in general.


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#54 Sylosis - Edge of the Earth

Parts of this album are normally what I consider too fast-paced (I've always preferred death metal at a slower pace), but the song structures overall make up for it. They mix it up with varying paces which makes it a lot more enjoyable and easier to listen to. I'm still undecided on the vocals. I think they work for Sylosis' style, but they remind me an awful lot of "brootal metalcore" vocals, meaning they're not particularly melodic or appealing, which isn't a good thing. The melodic aspect of their sound and the solos and the different song structures are enough to keep me listening, such as the brief tune found in Empyreal Part 2, but this album would be much more appealing to those looking for stylized melodeath with obvious metalcore influences.


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#53 The Flight of Sleipnir - Essence of Nine

I've commented before that this band shares common ground with Agalloch, even though they're not nearly as good. Some similarities might include clean and black metal vocals, high quality production, a folk vibe, a doom vibe, and a decent number of melodic acoustic sections. The songs aren't even close to being The Mantle or Ashes Against the Grain type quality, but still, the material is fairly solid and enjoyable. There's also a psychedelic and stoner aspect to the sound. Nothing groundbreaking here by any means, but it'll be a fairly enjoyable listen to anyone looking for a band influenced by Agalloch and psychedelic/experimental rock.


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#52 Ah Ciliz - Reawakening Ancient Sorrow

This is some really intriguing ambient, atmospheric black metal. Some tracks have their aggressive parts ("Oceans From My Veins"), and some tracks are more dynamic ("Creators of Time," "Ancient Mayan Sorcery"), but as a general principal this album is soft, passive, melodic, and ambient. And it's melancholic and depressing. Vocals are sparse. We do get some voice samples throughout, all of which are fairly distorted and indiscernible. The vocals we get are extremely effective, piercing, BM screeches. If you're looking to sit in the dark and contemplate the darker side of life, this is your album.


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#51 SORNE - House of Stone

I honestly couldn't figure out where to put this on my list. At first it blew me away, then I thought it was mediocre, then it blew me away again, now I just don't know. I didn't know whether to put it at #50 or #15. I can easily see myself a year or two from now looking back thinking House of Stone was one of the best albums of 2011. It's certainly one of the most unique. Everything about it, including its reception, is unorthodox.
If you're looking for something different... really really really different... you might check this album out (a lot of albums on this list are/will be different, but this one is REALLY different). All the instruments used here are homemade according to Morgan Sorne. No bass, no traditional drums. The vocals are amazing. The instruments are I don't even know. I don't know what instruments I'm listening to. All I know is they're used extremely meticulously. What a sound this band creates. Anything from a rudimentary tribal sound to a rich, vibrant, overwhelming, enveloping sound. Topics include birth, death, nature; this is like the soundtrack of the ancient world. "These are the songs of five dead children whose voices echo and seep through the cracks of the American dream."
HIGHLIGHTS: "Silent Fall," "Coyote," "Gigantomachia"

larvtard
11-30-2011, 08:29 AM
http://img402.imageshack.us/img402/5210/theflightofsleipnir.jpg (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/402/theflightofsleipnir.jpg/)


OH HAI JOHN BAIZELY

I really want to check some of this stuff out, but I pledged to myself that I wouldn't listen to any more new stuff from 2011 anymore because I've got my list finalized :bouville:

Natrlhi
11-30-2011, 09:44 AM
Belphegor - Blood Magic Necromance
Skeletonwitch - Forever Abomination
Profetus - ...to Open the Passages in Dusk (this one isn't released until Dec 31)
Dream Theater - A Dramatic Turn of Events
Dekadent - Venera: Trial & Tribulation
Heiden - Delores (Sorry HB420)
Red Fang - Murder the Mountains
Hammers of Misfortune - 17th StreetFor what it's worth, Belphegor was surprisingly good, and Red Fang is fucking incredible (although not as much up your alley as some others on here, I'll wager).

illuminatus917
11-30-2011, 11:18 AM
Just sayin, I thought Skeletonwitch was way better than their last album!

For what it's worth, Belphegor was surprisingly good, and Red Fang is fucking incredible.

Thanks for accentuating my shortcomings you guys. :mad:

I'm pretty much completely burnt out on listening to new albums. There were about 25 left on my 'to get to' list when I just quit.

DethMaiden
11-30-2011, 11:27 AM
To pile it on, the Hammers of Misfortune is amazing. ;)

illuminatus917
11-30-2011, 11:35 AM
To pile it on, the Hammers of Misfortune is amazing. ;)

SO I'VE HEARD. I haven't heard any of their albums so I don't even know what they sound like. I just saw the prog/heavy tag and assumed there'd be other things of more interest to focus on.

Natrlhi
11-30-2011, 12:33 PM
Don't sweat it. There's always a few you don't have time for - that's why I add that little list of shit I couldn't get to each year.

I was just letting you know in case you ever wanted to check back on those couple of albums some other time.

hb420
11-30-2011, 12:46 PM
Yeah that sucks about running out of time to check those out. When do you find time though Heiden and Hammers should be the top priority out of that list.

illuminatus917
12-01-2011, 01:38 PM
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#50 Omega Massif - Karpatia

This record is thick and dense. It's not the type of record I'll be spinning very often, but it deserves a spot on the list. I really enjoy the softer atmospheric moments of this album more than the balls to the wall heavy chugging that's the bulk of it. "Ursus Arctos" is an example, opening up with a nice atmospheric landscape before converting to sluggish post-metal at a doom pace, then relapsing back into softness for a minute or two, then back to sluggish post-metal at a doom pace. Those soft moments are much needed when listening to this massive, crushing, forty-six minutes of gloom.


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#49 Leviathan - True Traitor, True Whore

The vocals here are pretty weak. They're distorted into the mix to the point that they're close to a con. I feel the record would be stronger without them, which is a real bummer. The last 1:45 of "Contrary Pulse" gives us a glimpse of what this album could be if it were instrumental. But like most albums, if we look past the flaws there are usually redeeming qualities. There's a multitude of various sounds here. They're all layered together well. There are ambient moments throughout some tracks ("Every Orifice Yawning Her Price"). The heavy distorted guitar work is memorable, as is the clean. The production is polished. Some tracks showcase a variety of tempo changes ("Harlot Rises"). There's a fairly dark and bizarre atmosphere to the whole thing.
HIGHLIGHTS: "Harlot Rises," "Contrary Pulse," "Shed This Skin"


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#48 PJ Harvey - Let England Shake

I'm rarely one to pay a great deal of attention to lyrics, unless they're just exceptional or critical to understanding an album. What we have here is a conceptually deeply-rooted themed album disguised by the actual sound of the album. Meaning that if someone listened to this album and paid no attention to the lyrics, they wouldn't have a clue what the album's about, because unlike most albums, the characterization of this album isn't projected in its sound. The lyrics are very interesting, and they're representative of quite a bit of thought. Harvey remarked "I'm not a removed person, no matter what I'm doing. I've always been very visceral in that I feel things very deeply. I certainly can get very angry about things I hear day to day, and shout at the radio, shout at the television, or actually feel sick or feel like weeping." Themes here mostly include the first Great War (specifically, the Battle of Gallipoli, which she seems to know a great deal about), death and casualties of war, soldiers "falling like lumps of meat," and reminiscences of England's glory days - "England's dancing days are over" (Harvey failed to recognize it as a Zeppelin reference when she wrote it). I saw it asked and it might be noted, even though I don't know and haven't seen it brought up in an interview, there's a distinct possibility the title of the album came from a letter Edward Maitland wrote in 1876 condemning vivisection. "Let England shake off the moral lethargy which has fallen upon her, and rise in full determination to cast out this hideous thing from her midst." This is the only album that ultimately earned its spot on the list with lyrical content and thematics. The sound is enough to grab your attention, but what the album portrays is what really intrigues the listener.


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#47 Wolvhammer - The Obsidian Plains

This record, like Omega Massif's, didn't really do much for me emotionally. Not that the two are very similar beyond denseness and ugliness; Karpatia shares much more common ground with Black Cobra's new release. No tracks really stand out here. It's another case of just enjoying the sound. This blackened crust is gritty, nasty, sludgy, distasteful, and impenetrable. This is the album that portrays the vagabonds residing in dystopian urban slums. It's the rat bastard of modern formulaic metal. Profound Lore remarked that, known for combining Darkthrone/Celtic Frost/Hellhammer-esque black metal with punk, crust, and doom, Wolvhammer creates a sound that's like a vivacious sledgehammer blow to the head. There are far better bands on Profound Lore's roster, but this one certainly carves its niche.


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#46 sleepmakeswaves - …and so we destroyed everything

sleepmakeswaves seem to be the equivalent to post-rock that Origin or Obscura are to metal. They're very technically proficient, they're good composers, they're mature songwriters (impressive considering this is their sophomore effort), there's nothing groundbreaking or earth-shattering about them... they're just a solid band writing impressive, math-type, technical music. They're fast for a post-rock band. The drumming is extremely impressive, and unusually emphatic for a post-rock band. For anyone familiar with my tastes, though I admit all these things appeal more to me behind post-rock than technical metal, it's not my ideal style. The pace of the music renders it less prone to an emotional disposition (Caspian is one of the few post-rock bands that can be extremely emotional at a fast pace). Nevertheless, it's an impressive release.

Natrlhi
12-01-2011, 02:22 PM
#50 Omega Massif - Karpatia

This record is thick and dense. It's not the type of record I'll be spinning very often, but it deserves a spot on the list. I really enjoy the softer atmospheric moments of this album more than the balls to the wall heavy chugging that's the bulk of it. "Ursus Arctos" is an example, opening up with a nice atmospheric landscape before converting to sluggish post-metal at a doom pace, then relapsing back into softness for a minute or two, then back to sluggish post-metal at a doom pace. Those soft moments are much needed when listening to this massive, crushing, forty-six minutes of gloom.I've never met anyone, anywhere, ever who knew about this band...until now. What's not surprising is that I saw them mentioned in your thread. What is surprising is that I haven't listened to this album. Gotta get on that.

#46 sleepmakeswaves - …and so we destroyed everything
sleepmakeswaves seem to be the equivalent to post-rock that Origin or Obscura are to metal. They're very technically proficient, they're good composers, they're mature songwriters (impressive considering this is their sophomore effort), there's nothing groundbreaking or earth-shattering about them... they're just a solid band writing impressive, math-type, technical music. They're fast for a post-rock band. The drumming is extremely impressive, and unusually emphatic for a post-rock band. For anyone familiar with my tastes, though I admit all these things appeal more to me behind post-rock than technical metal, it's not my ideal style. The pace of the music renders it less prone to an emotional disposition (Caspian is one of the few post-rock bands that can be extremely emotional at a fast pace). Nevertheless, it's an impressive release.Very nice. I love this band / album. :lovedup:

DethMaiden
12-01-2011, 03:52 PM
Welllllllll, two of my top ten in the bottom three, so. ;)

illuminatus917
12-03-2011, 11:05 AM
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#45 Satan's Host - By the Hands of the Devil

First and foremostly what needs to be commented on is the vocals. Holy shit holy shit holy shit their vocalist sounds like a combination of Bruce Dickinson and King Diamond. It's a shame there aren't more clean vocals in extreme metal these days. Not to harp on or diss harsh vocals, but I've always liked clean vocals, and the vocalist for Satan's Host executes them to perfection. This album is a heavy metal/power/thrash/dark/evil hybrid with black metal influence. The chemistry in this band is fantastic. They play well together, this album is energetic from start to finish, and it sounds like it's straight out of the 80's. For fans of Mercyful Fate who haven't heard this, it's a must listen.
Recommendation for those who like this album: Hell's Human Remains


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#44 Mastodon - The Hunter

They're still doing their thing without sounding redundant. That's more than 75% of bands in existence can say. If bands were like paintings, Mastodon would be like abstract Picasso. It's not always my favorite style, but it deserves respect and appreciation. Sometimes I think Mastodon has more creative juice than just about any other band out there, and sometimes I think they sound elementary. It's a mixed bag for me. But in the end, there's something about them that's just captivating. And I don't know any other way to describe it.
Highlights: "The Hunter" (incredible solo), "The Sparrow" (absolutely beautiful, majestic track. One of the best songs of the year without a doubt.)


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#43 Industries of the Blind - Chapter 1: Had We Known Better

This album is very easy to sum up. If all the material here was as excellent as the first track, it would be a top 10 release. If they made a full-length that was, in its entirety, the caliber of the first track, it would be contending for album of the year. This track is "I Just Wanted to Make You Something Beautiful," and it's one of the best songs of 2011. A truly brilliant thirteen minutes. After a piano-led intro the strings come in, then the guitar, and while the violin takes center stage delivering an incredibly heartfelt melody the percussion and piano and guitar illuminate the sound from the background. The drums grow stronger as the track progresses but the strings never surrender their center of focus. Don't get me wrong, the second track here is great too, but it doesn't compare to the first. If anything, this year has in a sense revitalized my hope for post-rock. There're a handful of freshman EP's this year that have eclipsed full-lengths by veteran post-rock bands, and some are higher up on this list; it's incredible. Here's another band we'll be looking to in the future for greatness.
HIGHLIGHTS: "I Just Wanted to Make You Something Beautiful"


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#42 FareWell Poetry - Hoping For the Impossible to Ignite

If anything is reminiscent of Godspeed You! Black Emperor style post-rock, FareWell Poetry is it. The album opens up with a long unsettling monologue. Though the transcript seems impossible to find on the net, we hear a woman saying "in privacy of heart, I shuffle vagary and trick, and the millions suck at my bowels like lice... like a bloody travois made for her return, rumors of her desertion like the cruel whisper of the winter wind hissing through the porch teeth... nine days of wondering how the clock could summon up enough vim to muscle through the minutes..." All the while very atmospheric disquieting instrumentation (including guitars and accordions) can be heard echoing in the background, until later it becomes heavier and more prominent. The music here sounds like it's resonating out of a well. It's the type of music that puts you in a trance or a state of hypnosis rather than forcing you to focus on it. Around seven and a half minutes in we get the first really noticeable melody, but the monologue continues. The nineteen minute whopper of an opener is the best this record has to offer. They're very cinematic and exercise excellent build ups in the two longest tracks. There's a very "epic" feel about this band, which in their case is a good thing. "In Dreams Airlifted Our" is a much shorter, more concentrated, typical type of post-rock song. So the verdict: Here's another post-rock band with A LOT of potential. This record is only this low on the list because the songwriting isn't what I'd consider excellent yet, but in time this band could be producing material topping EOY album lists.
HIGHLIGHTS: "As True as Troilus," "All in the Full, Indomitable Light of Hope (Part II)"


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#41 Leeland - The Great Awakening

Leeland is a Christian worship band, and I only point that out because they're not exactly discussed often on this forum, and I realize most of you probably aren't fans of this type of music. Nevertheless, I've been a fan of these guys for a while now. I really don't often look to "Christian" music to find good music, because in all honesty there are drastically fewer good Christian bands than secular bands. And Christianity fused with metal has, for the most part, been a disaster (as I'm sure most of us would agree with). There are some exceptions to this. For example, Christian death metallers, A Hill To Die Upon, released a great album this year, which probably should've made my list in all actuality. And there've been a handful of gothic Christian bands over the years that were excellent, but as a general principle Christian metal is something to approach with the utmost caution. Leeland is a band that just writes very pretty, melodic, uplifting music. It's emotional music, and it's well written. This is their best record since Sound of Melodies, and it's their most mature and technically proficient release to date. Lyrics mostly revolve around the Gospel. But songwriting is their strong point. Rarely do you hear worship music that features even adequate songwriting, but here it's paramount.
HIGHLIGHTS: "The Great Awakening," "All Over The Earth," "Pages," "Not Afraid Anymore," "While We Sing," "I Cry"

illuminatus917
12-04-2011, 01:47 PM
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#40 Alghazanth - Vinum Intus

I haven't heard any of their earlier albums, but Vinum Intus alone tells me Alghazanth has the potential to become, if they haven't already, worthy of joining the ranks of Nokturnal Mortum and Emperor. This is symphonic black metal with zero cheese factor. This album is very intense, but still retains that melodic element. In fact some parts of this album are incredibly melodic, such as the choir part in "With A Thorn In Our Hearts." But the choir parts aren't over the top or "epic," if you will; rather, they're modest and serve as accents to Alghazanth's sound. This aspect tends to enhance the band's dynamics rather than serve as an inelastic crutch. The riffing is melodic as well. Staying true to BM, a lot of the drumming is blast beating, as you'd expect. The vocals seem very well executed. Tracks that feature acoustic guitars and use of piano, such as "For Thirteen Moons" and "Only The Reflection Bleeds" are the best on the album, probably because they're the most dynamic. This isn't a lo-fi album (if it was it probably wouldn't have made the list). There's something here for most any black metal listener to enjoy, whether fans of raw, gritty InThyFlesh or commercial BM acts Cradle of Filth or Dimmu Borgir.


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#39 Black Tusk - Set the Dial

Black Tusk's sludge metal is much more uptempo, to the point that sometimes it sounds like borderline punk with its often ferocious pace. The vocals don't help either, but the instruments themselves are definitely sludge, not punk. Black Tusk is far more one-dimensional than, say, Giant Squid, but what they do they do well. This album is really tightly packed and focuses on its thesis without getting experimental. There are some great riffs, and the album as a whole is fairly technical (which is fairly natural and commonplace with faster music), but unlike a lot of bands that do the technical thing, it doesn't subtract from this record at all. The standout track is probably "Resistor." No vocals on this track, and some real groovy guitar parts. But most of the songs have some real groovy guitar parts, I just wish more of them had no vocals.


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#38 Tombs - Path of Totality

I really feel this album might be the most overrated album of the year. The amount of hype its received is astounding:
http://www.npr.org/blogs/allsongs/2011/11/29/142890254/the-best-metal-albums-of-2011 (NPR)
http://stereogum.com/892061/decibels-40-best-albums-of-2011/list/ (Decibel)
http://pitchfork.com/features/show-no-mercy/8717-best-albums-of-2011/ (Pitchfork)

It's a good album, no doubt about it. But when I listen to it there's nothing that warrants its being a top 5 release. Or a top 25 release, for that matter. That's not to say it won't grow on me though. This record basically takes the sound from Winter Hours, refines it, constructs a balance between cleanness and chaos, and the result takes the listener to a dark, hazy, uncertain place. What's interesting is that, unlike Winter Hours which had far less discernible riffs, the riffs here are discernible, though chaotic, yet the whole album somehow maintains an incredibly clean feeling despite its chaos. The chaos is on a noise level, not a structural level. I think the vocals are fantastic. As is the atmosphere of the whole thing. One thing's for sure, this is some of the most abrasive sludge I've ever heard.


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#37 Negative Plane - Stained Glass Revelations

There've been a lot of comparisons between this album and Deathspell Omega's Paracletus. Frankly, I liked Paracletus more. Folks have told of how genre defying these bands are, and how their reactions were basically "this is unlike anything I've ever heard before." My reaction wasn't like that. I do think Paracletus was more groundbreaking as far as innovation goes, but I don't consider either mind-blowingly ingenious. There are a lot of bands of this type bringing a new edge to black metal. Mare Cognitum's new album, The Sea Which Has Become Known, for instance, might be of interest to those who enjoy these albums. And I only mention that album because I've seen no talk about it. Nevertheless, Stained Glass Revelations is a great album. It has a very architecturally oppressive sound to it. Dark, twisted, oppressive, dense, brutal, harsh... all these accurately describe the sound that is Stained Glass Revelations. I don't think it's as awesome as their debut, but it's still awesome, just in a completely different way. There's very little in the way of catchiness or hooky riffs, but memorable leads pop up here and there, and song transitions, and some of the most intense atmosphere of any black metal out there. All these things definitely make up for the lack of catchiness.


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#36 Moonlit Sailor - Colors in Stereo

Here's one of the few happy, upbeat, lifting records on this list. Ranking the best post-rock records of the year alone was extremely challenging, and somehow it feels wrong putting this one so low on the list, especially considering higher ranked post-rock albums/EP's have far less quality material than the brilliant 42 minutes that is Colors in Stereo. Nevertheless, this was a top 6 post-rock release. Signatures of this band: engaging rhythms, beautiful melodies, rich, vibrant, tightly constructed, momentous, and layered. All these things combined produce that grandiose sound that's Moonlit Sailor's unmistakable trademark. They're the best post-rock band doing this style of post-rock. I didn't think so at first, but after a few more listens, this record is better than So Close to Life.
HIGHLIGHTS: "Kodak Moment," "Freeze Frame Vision," "Weekday Escape," "Clarity"

MPF
12-04-2011, 08:51 PM
A pretty cool list so far. Kinda disappointed to see Mastodon so far down in the list, but you have Omega Massif in it, so you win!

hb420
12-04-2011, 08:54 PM
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#37 Negative Plane - Stained Glass Revelations

There've been a lot of comparisons between this album and Deathspell Omega's Paracletus. Frankly, I liked Paracletus more. Folks have told of how genre defying these bands are, and how their reactions were basically "this is unlike anything I've ever heard before." My reaction wasn't like that. I do think Paracletus was more groundbreaking as far as innovation goes, but I don't consider either mind-blowingly ingenious. There are a lot of bands of this type bringing a new edge to black metal. Mare Cognitum's new album, The Sea Which Has Become Known, for instance, might be of interest to those who enjoy these albums. And I only mention that album because I've seen no talk about it. Nevertheless, Stained Glass Revelations is a great album. It has a very architecturally oppressive sound to it. Dark, twisted, oppressive, dense, brutal, harsh... all these accurately describe the sound that is Stained Glass Revelations. I don't think it's as awesome as their debut, but it's still awesome, just in a completely different way. There's very little in the way of catchiness or hooky riffs, but memorable leads pop up here and there, and song transitions, and some of the most intense atmosphere of any black metal out there. All these things definitely make up for the lack of catchiness.


I love this album, great USBM. I just checked this out though and holy shit is it awsome. Halfway through the first track :drool:

illuminatus917
12-04-2011, 09:50 PM
A pretty cool list so far. Kinda disappointed to see Mastodon so far down in the list, but you have Omega Massif in it, so you win!

It earned its low spot because I didn't find it to be a particularly emotional or "mature" sounding album. I just can't get past its sounding rudimentary. Song lengths don't help either. Without the highlighted tracks, it probably wouldn't even have made the list.

I love this album, great USBM. I just checked this out though and holy shit is it awsome. Halfway through the first track :drool:

Yeah, that Mare Cognitum album was really something. I lump it in with Paracletus and Stained Glass Revelations because it's kind of like avant-garde black metal. Not the hipster/post/shoegazish kind... but the extreme kind. It's hard to pinpoint what you're listening to because it incorporates things you just don't know how to describe, things that aren't necessarily prominent but you know they're there. Plus the coalescence of BM with sci-fi themes instead of satanism is a nice change of scenery. :D

hb420
12-04-2011, 09:57 PM
Yeah, that Mare Cognitum album was really something. I lump it in with Paracletus and Stained Glass Revelations because it's kind of like avant-garde black metal. Not the hipster/post/shoegazish kind... but the extreme kind. It's hard to pinpoint what you're listening to because it incorporates things you just don't know how to describe, things that aren't necessarily prominent but you know they're there. Plus the coalescence of BM with sci-fi themes instead of satanism is a nice change of scenery. :D

That's what makes those albums so awesome man, extreme avant-garde bm at its finest. One of my many dreams would be to actually see a band like Deathspell take the stage. They would completely destroy don't you think?

illuminatus917
12-04-2011, 10:00 PM
That's what makes those albums so awesome man, extreme avant-garde bm at its finest. One of my many dreams would be to actually see a band like Deathspell take the stage. They would completely destroy don't you think?

Of those, Deathspell would definitely be the one to see. Even though I really like Negative Plane's first album.

Seventhzealot
12-05-2011, 10:02 AM
A bit disappointed to see that Tombs album so low too..but fairplay for atleast putting it on there.

Rocco44
12-06-2011, 02:53 AM
Haven't heard most of the albums on your list so far (besides Sylosis, Moonlit Sailor, sleepmakeswaves, Mastodon, and Tombs) but many of them are bands high on my list to check out. And we seem to have similar taste so I'm looking forward to the rest of your list.

Natrlhi
12-06-2011, 08:44 PM
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#39 Black Tusk - Set the Dial

Black Tusk's sludge metal is much more uptempo, to the point that sometimes it sounds like borderline punk with its often ferocious pace. The vocals don't help either, but the instruments themselves are definitely sludge, not punk. Black Tusk is far more one-dimensional than, say, Giant Squid, but what they do they do well. This album is really tightly packed and focuses on its thesis without getting experimental. There are some great riffs, and the album as a whole is fairly technical (which is fairly natural and commonplace with faster music), but unlike a lot of bands that do the technical thing, it doesn't subtract from this record at all. The standout track is probably "Resistor." No vocals on this track, and some real groovy guitar parts. But most of the songs have some real groovy guitar parts, I just wish more of them had no vocals.Decent assessment. I want to like this album more, but I just can't. It has some great moments, but that's really about it.


http://img26.imageshack.us/img26/9492/rsztombs.png (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/26/rsztombs.png/)
#38 Tombs - Path of Totality

I really feel this album might be the most overrated album of the year. The amount of hype its received is astounding:
http://www.npr.org/blogs/allsongs/2011/11/29/142890254/the-best-metal-albums-of-2011 (NPR)
http://stereogum.com/892061/decibels-40-best-albums-of-2011/list/ (Decibel)
http://pitchfork.com/features/show-no-mercy/8717-best-albums-of-2011/ (Pitchfork)

It's a good album, no doubt about it. But when I listen to it there's nothing that warrants its being a top 5 release. Or a top 25 release, for that matter. That's not to say it won't grow on me though. This record basically takes the sound from Winter Hours, refines it, constructs a balance between cleanness and chaos, and the result takes the listener to a dark, hazy, uncertain place. What's interesting is that, unlike Winter Hours which had far less discernible riffs, the riffs here are discernible, though chaotic, yet the whole album somehow maintains an incredibly clean feeling despite its chaos. The chaos is on a noise level, not a structural level. I think the vocals are fantastic. As is the atmosphere of the whole thing. One thing's for sure, this is some of the most abrasive sludge I've ever heard.Good insight here. Unless I hear something I haven't before when I give it a few more spins, I'm afraid I'm going to have to agree with you on this one.

http://img405.imageshack.us/img405/5253/moonlitsailor.jpg (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/405/moonlitsailor.jpg/)
#36 Moonlit Sailor - Colors in Stereo

Here's one of the few happy, upbeat, lifting records on this list. Ranking the best post-rock records of the year alone was extremely challenging, and somehow it feels wrong putting this one so low on the list, especially considering higher ranked post-rock albums/EP's have far less quality material than the brilliant 42 minutes that is Colors in Stereo. Nevertheless, this was a top 6 post-rock release. Signatures of this band: engaging rhythms, beautiful melodies, rich, vibrant, tightly constructed, momentous, and layered. All these things combined produce that grandiose sound that's Moonlit Sailor's unmistakable trademark. They're the best post-rock band doing this style of post-rock. I didn't think so at first, but after a few more listens, this record is better than So Close to Life.
HIGHLIGHTS: "Kodak Moment," "Freeze Frame Vision," "Weekday Escape," "Clarity"Love this band / album. :lovedup:

illuminatus917
12-07-2011, 02:49 PM
Good insight here.

:allan: What I really want to know is what is it about this album that warrants the reception it's received.

EDIT: List to proceed after exams are finished.

mankvill
12-07-2011, 05:14 PM
That Negative Plane album is weird, but cool.

illuminatus917
12-08-2011, 04:27 PM
http://img846.imageshack.us/img846/9094/moonsorrowvarjoinakulje.jpg (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/846/moonsorrowvarjoinakulje.jpg/)
#35 Moonsorrow - Varjoina Kuljemme Kuolleiden Maassa

Finnish for "As Shadows we Walk in the Land of the Dead." This one took me forever to get through. It's definitely not an album for a listener with little patience. Still, it was one of my most highly anticipated albums coming into the year. I knew they were set to release it early, and I was ready for it. It's "epic," just like I expected it to be. Moonsorrow has progressed as a band, and through their progressions their sound has just become more "epic" with an almost cinematic quality to it, while still retaining that folkish black metal vibe. Unfortunately the "epicness" is sometimes detrimental to the interestingness. This definitely isn't the most "interesting" of Moonsorrow albums. Organized with four real songs (all well over ten, and even fifteen, minutes in length), separated by three transitional songs, all of which are mostly soft tracks where we hear the sound of horse hoofs, footsteps, wind, screams, battle sounds, etc., this album tells the story of a wonderer who is lost in the harsh wilderness and the perils of his journey. Through his journey, he experiences desperation, spirituality, fear of death, torment, solitude, etc. and each song captures an element of the wonderer's emotions with its sound. It's like a tragic tale in music form. If "epic" blackened folk metal is your favorite genre, there's no band that does it better than Moonsorrow; this is more than likely one of your favorite albums of the year.


http://img854.imageshack.us/img854/4866/7040277501.jpg (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/854/7040277501.jpg/)
#34 The Atlas Moth - An Ache for the Distance

Another great band on Profound Lore's roster. The dual vocals - black metalish screams contrasted with cleans - really give this album an edge. The screams are much lower in the mix and the cleans are much higher in the mix. The sound itself is a very sludgy psychedelic mixture of stoner rock and stoner doom. The guitars are very heavy. And the riffs are very melodic. Nothing's too crazy or over the top, it's just very rock 'n roll inspired stoner doom. It moves along at a nice pace. Like Tombs' Path of Totality, this record has received a lot of praise throughout the metal community, and if you've noticed, this record is right alongside Tombs' on a lot of EOY lists. Path of Totality is in every sense more aggressive and more heavy and more crushing than this record, but this record has more feeling in it.
HIGHLIGHTS: "Holes in the Desert," "Gemini," "An Ache for the Distance," "Horse Thieves"


http://img708.imageshack.us/img708/8830/001206605full.jpg (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/708/001206605full.jpg/)
#33 Deafheaven - Roads to Judah

Okay, so this record drew a lot of attention from Alcest and Lantlós lovers. idrinkwine said early in the year that this record would be the "Écailles de Lune of 2011." Part of me wants to agree with that, and part of me wants to curb stomp the idea that this record is even remotely close to the caliber of Écailles de Lune. There are times when I feel it, and there are times when I don't. It's completely safe to say, however, that this album doesn't even compare on an emotional level to Écailles de Lune, to me at least. I've revisited it more than a few times, thinking I might pick something up from it I overlooked before, but nope. This record stands with me now just as it did when I first heard it. I don't even understand the argument that this isn't black metal. Sure, it's better classified as post-black metal, but black metal it is nonetheless. In fact I think this record is far more "black" than Écailles de Lune was. It's very blastbeat-filled, it features mid-paced beats against a wall of atmosphere, and all the vocals are black metal vocals. Post influenced black metal haters hate, I'm really liking where the genre's at right now.
HIGHLIGHTS: "Violet" (best song on the album), "Language Games," "Tunnel of Trees" (second best song on the album)


http://img84.imageshack.us/img84/8783/rszslstafir.png (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/84/rszslstafir.png/)
#32 Sólstafir - Svartir Sandar

After I first heard this it immediately broke my top 15. And there's no way I'd argue against someone having it that high. But as happens so often, my tendency to overhype an album slowly subsides with time... and that's exactly what happened here. I realized I didn't like this album as much as I thought I did. Stylistically, Sólstafir isn't the same band that used to play viking black metal. They've gone in a completely different direction with their sound, and it's working for them. This album is brilliantly executed. Spanning two discs, it's quite a lot to take in, and while I feel it might've actually been stronger with a few songs omitted, this album should be recognized as a cohesively well-constructed body of work. Ranging from solemn, melancholic tunes to uptempo, aggressive, dark gothic metal tunes, Svartir Sandar covers a broad spectrum of feeling. There's really something punk about this album as well, even though I can't put my finger on it (maybe the vocals remind me of punk?). Side I is better than side II overall. If the whole album was the quality of the first two tracks, it'd be a top 10 for sure with top 5 potential. Kudos to Sólstafir for trying something new and running with it.
HIGHLIGHTS: "Ljós í Stormi," "Fjara," "Kukl"


http://img820.imageshack.us/img820/349/rszautopsymacabreeterna.jpg (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/820/rszautopsymacabreeterna.jpg/)
#31 Autopsy - Macabre Eternal

Old-school death metallers, Autopsy, have returned with their first full-length in sixteen years. It's been universally acclaimed, and when juxtaposed with Morbid Angel's train wreck of a release, Macabre Eternal seems like an indubitable masterpiece. It doesn't rival the band's mangos opus, Mental Funeral, but it's still an impressive release. Notably, Autopsy have fused their old death metal formula with newer death metal touches, which results most noticeably in a higher tempo style that we've not seen from them before, while still retaining that Mental Funeral vibe. Autopsy is one of my favorite death metal bands just because they've always played death metal at a doom pace, and as a result they've been highly influential, along with bands like Incantation and Novembers Doom, to the accession of death/doom bands we've seen over the years. Well this album actually moves, at times, at a faster pace. And at times it moves like Mental Funeral. In this sense I think it's satisfied old-school death metal fans as well as fans that are head over heels for bands like Dimsa and Ulcerate.

Seventhzealot
12-08-2011, 04:35 PM
=illuminatus917;422974]http://img846.imageshack.us/img846/9094/moonsorrowvarjoinakulje.jpg (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/846/moonsorrowvarjoinakulje.jpg/)
#35 Moonsorrow - Varjoina Kuljemme Kuolleiden Maassa

Finnish for "As Shadows we Walk in the Land of the Dead." This one took me forever to get through. It's definitely not an album for a listener with little patience. Still, it was one of my most highly anticipated albums coming into the year. I knew they were set to release it early, and I was ready for it. It's "epic," just like I expected it to be. Moonsorrow has progressed as a band, and through their progressions their sound has just become more "epic" with an almost cinematic quality to it, while still retaining that folkish black metal vibe. Unfortunately the "epicness" is sometimes detrimental to the interestingness. This definitely isn't the most "interesting" of Moonsorrow albums. Organized with four real songs (all well over ten, and even fifteen, minutes in length), separated by three transitional songs, all of which are mostly soft tracks where we hear the sound of horse hoofs, footsteps, wind, screams, battle sounds, etc., this album tells the story of a wonderer who is lost in the harsh wilderness and the perils of his journey. Through his journey, he experiences desperation, spirituality, fear of death, torment, solitude, etc. and each song captures an element of the wonderer's emotions with its sound. It's like a tragic tale in music form. If "epic" blackened folk metal is your favorite genre, there's no band that does it better than Moonsorrow; this is more than likely one of your favorite albums of the year.

Agree that it can be quite a draining experience for a listener not akin to Moonsorrow's tunes but I thoroughly enjoyed this one.


http://img84.imageshack.us/img84/8783/rszslstafir.png (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/84/rszslstafir.png/)
#32 Sólstafir - Svartir Sandar

After I first heard this it immediately broke my top 15. And there's no way I'd argue against someone having it that high. But as happens so often, my tendency to overhype an album slowly subsides with time... and that's exactly what happened here. I realized I didn't like this album as much as I thought I did. Stylistically, Sólstafir isn't the same band that used to play viking black metal. They've gone in a completely different direction with their sound, and it's working for them. This album is brilliantly executed. Spanning two discs, it's quite a lot to take in, and while I feel it might've actually been stronger with a few songs omitted, this album should be recognized as a cohesively well-constructed body of work. Ranging from solemn, melancholic tunes to uptempo, aggressive, dark gothic metal tunes, Svartir Sandar covers a broad spectrum of feeling. There's really something punk about this album as well, even though I can't put my finger on it (maybe the vocals remind me of punk?). Side I is better than side II overall. If the whole album was the quality of the first two tracks, it'd be a top 10 for sure with top 5 potential. Kudos to Sólstafir for trying something new and running with it.
HIGHLIGHTS: "Ljós í Stormi," "Fjara," "Kukl"

Again I agree that on first listen this album may even have cracked my top 10! With subsequent listens though, eventually it didn't even make my top 25 but that's not to detract from its quality.

http://img820.imageshack.us/img820/349/rszautopsymacabreeterna.jpg (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/820/rszautopsymacabreeterna.jpg/)
#31 Autopsy - Macabre Eternal

Old-school death metallers, Autopsy, have returned with their first full-length in sixteen years. It's been universally acclaimed, and when juxtaposed with Morbid Angel's train wreck of a release, Macabre Eternal seems like an indubitable masterpiece. It doesn't rival the band's mangos opus, Mental Funeral, but it's still an impressive release. Notably, Autopsy have fused their old death metal formula with newer death metal touches, which results most noticeably in a higher tempo style that we've not seen from them before, while still retaining that Mental Funeral vibe. Autopsy is one of my favorite death metal bands just because they've always played death metal at a doom pace, and as a result they've been highly influential, along with bands like Incantation and Novembers Doom, to the accession of death/doom bands we've seen over the years. Well this album actually moves, at times, at a faster pace. And at times it moves like Mental Funeral. In this sense I think it's satisfied old-school death metal fans as well as fans that are head over heels for bands like Dimsa and Ulcerate.

:fist:

slapguitarer
12-08-2011, 05:48 PM
Good little chunk right here! :rocker:

Of these 5, Deafheaven is probably my favorite, but Moonsorrow is quite close (they're actually right next to eachother on my list).

King Slender
12-08-2011, 06:10 PM
http://img708.imageshack.us/img708/8830/001206605full.jpg[/URL]
#33 Deafheaven - Roads to Judah

Okay, so this record drew a lot of attention from Alcest and Lantlós lovers. idrinkwine said early in the year that this record would be the "Écailles de Lune of 2011." Part of me wants to agree with that, and part of me wants to curb stomp the idea that this record is even remotely close to the caliber of Écailles de Lune. There are times when I feel it, and there are times when I don't. It's completely safe to say, however, that this album doesn't even compare on an emotional level to Écailles de Lune, to me at least. I've revisited it more than a few times, thinking I might pick something up from it I overlooked before, but nope. This record stands with me now just as it did when I first heard it. I don't even understand the argument that this isn't black metal. Sure, it's better classified as post-black metal, but black metal it is nonetheless. In fact I think this record is far more "black" than Écailles de Lune was. It's very blastbeat-filled, it features mid-paced beats against a wall of atmosphere, and all the vocals are black metal vocals. Post influenced black metal haters hate, I'm really liking where the genre's at right now.
HIGHLIGHTS: "Violet" (best song on the album), "Language Games," "Tunnel of Trees" (second best song on the album)


Re-visited this one last week after several months and it finally 'clicked' with me. Love the atmosphere it exudes.

illuminatus917
12-08-2011, 07:19 PM
Good little chunk right here! :rocker:


No Christrock, right? ;)

Re-visited this one last week after several months and it finally 'clicked' with me. Love the atmosphere it exudes.

You should post more often.

illuminatus917
12-10-2011, 01:11 PM
http://img854.imageshack.us/img854/8486/dammer.jpg (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/854/dammer.jpg/)
#30 Dämmerfarben - Im Abendrot

This is probably the most ethereal black metal I've heard since Alcest's release last year. Though not on the same level as Écailles De Lune, it presents itself to the listener in the same type of fashion, minus the shoegaze. Even the artwork embodies the same dreamlike persona Écailles De Lune did. This record has a painstakingly beautiful ambiance to it. Lyrics are in German so I don't know what they're singing, but the sound is just incredible. Crystal clear acoustic guitar passages, strings, keyboards, naturistic sounds including the chirping of birds, all contribute to create this sound. I know a lot of folks ("purists") despise the "hipster" aesthetic cast upon the genre - that aesthetic that folks have the damndest time putting into words, that has been the instigator of one flame fest after another on this site, - but when the result is something like this I really don't see how even the purest of fans can't recognize its conduciveness. Sure, plenty of heavier black metal parts show up on this record (resulting in an album that's definitely more dynamic than most), yet I'd say its major drawback, at least to me, is its failure to really delve into a heavy, soul-crushing sound like, per say, Agalloch is able do so well. Amidst all the beauty and romanticism, I just wanted it to, as Natrlhi put it, "stomp my fucking face in with a size 13 steel-toed boot." This is Dämmerfarben's first album, and given the potential here, there's definitely room to believe these guys have a bright future ahead of them.
I'm going to start throwing in some random links here and there for you lazy fucks that'll never check this stuff out otherwise.
HIGHLIGHTS: "Nebel und Regen (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6UCZ8gV13u0&feature=related)," "Graues Land," "Oktobersturm," "Einsamkeit," "Im Abendrot," "Nachtgedanken (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KBXTPOBV7JY)," "Hinaus in die Nacht"


http://img11.imageshack.us/img11/4175/corruptedgartenderunbew.jpg (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/11/corruptedgartenderunbew.jpg/)
#29 Corrupted - Garten Der Unbewusstheit

Three tracks, an hour and three minutes long. There's no doubt Corrupted has had better releases, but this one's great too. The first track,"Garten," starts off extremely slow and we don't hear vocals until after the 8:00 mark. It first gets heavy at 9:58 in that classic Corrupted way, and while it grabs your attention it's probably fairer to say "it grabs your attention even more" because the acoustic guitar intro (basically a long sequence of plucking strings and building atmosphere) is pretty impressive, though it's sparse and not necessarily what I'd expect doom enthusiasts to be yearning for. In fact the first two tacks could be classified as ambient. There's just not a ton going on. It's not 'til "Gekkou No Daichi" that this album really blows wide open. All of a sudden we have massive, despondent doom. This is the track everyone looking for Corrupted style doom should listen to.
HIGHLIGHT: "Gekkou No Daichi"


http://img833.imageshack.us/img833/936/lapsus.jpg (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/833/lapsus.jpg/)
#28 Light Bearer - Lapsus

Once named Aeshćttr, featuring the vocalist from Fall of Efrafa (post-metal outfit from Brighton), London's Light Bearer impresses with their debut. This album is only this low because its heavy parts didn't do as much for me as I would've liked. Perhaps it's the hardcore element. I'm not sure. But it's extremely well executed. It's another example of post-rock's influence on metal, which usually comes in the form of sludge/post-metal/whatever (Light Bearer as much as said their main influences include bands such as Neurosis, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Agalloch and Buried Inside). We don't hear clean vocals until 5:24 into "Prelapsus," or thereabout, and man they're a breath of fresh air. If vocal harmonies such as the ones featured in "Prelapsus" were more prominent throughout the album it would've been all the better. The three longest tracks on the record, "Primum Movens," "Armoury Choir," and the title-track, "Lapsus," are the best bodies of work here, but the comparatively shorter "Prelapsus," is one of easier tracks on the ears. "Lapsus" is the perfect closing song, combining most everything on the record into one massive piece. The closing minutes of the album are some of its best.
HIGHLIGHTS: "Primum Movens," "Armoury Choir," "Prelapsus," "Lapsus"


http://img708.imageshack.us/img708/5868/celestiallineagewolvesi.jpg (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/708/celestiallineagewolvesi.jpg/)
#27 Wolves in the Throne Room - Celestial Lineage

Wolves in the Throne Room has really set the precedent in recent years for atmospheric black metal. They're the band to imitate, and I really think they've become massively influential, especially in the post-black metal scene. Aaron Weaver has said bands such as Popol Vuh, Ash Ra Tempel, and Tangerine Dream have massively influenced them, not just musically but more so with their approach to music. This includes incorporating minimal classical music theories into rock instrumentation. Wolves in the Throne Room is more interested in atmosphere, trance inducing sounds, and creating a space for a listener to become involved in than they are in producing metal music. If you don't understand this, you won't understand Wolves in the Throne Room's music.
Aaron Weaver has also stated, and this should come as a surprise to no one, that Celestial Lineage is the third installment in Wolves in the Throne Room's trilogy of albums. Two Hunters is a very raw and personal record that revolves around encountering deities and spirits of the wild. Black Cascade is more or less a repetition of Two Hunters, seeking to bring back the initial experience while being darker and more mythical. And Celestial Lineage is the aftermath of that experience.

Jessica Kenny has returned for vocals. I'll just go ahead and say I much prefer Hammers of Misfortune's vocalist, Jamie Myers, on Malevolent Grain than Jessica Kenny on either Two Hunters or Celestial Lineage. But be that as it may, female vocals really mesh well with Wolves in the Throne Room's sound. And Jessica Kenny is still excellent on the opening track, or, the intro of the opening track I should say. I really wish they'd featured her throughout the album, or at least throughout the song, as they did with Jamie Myers in "A Looming Resonance." Jessica Kenny is deeply involved with traditional religious music and classical Persian, and it definitely shows. Her voice sounds like a spirit. The lead guitar kicks in at the 2:19 mark, and the other metal instruments join it at 3:09, and the vocals the rest of the way are that of Nathan Weaver's.
HIGHLIGHTS: "Thuja Magna Imperium," "Subterranean Initiation," "Astral Blood"


http://img715.imageshack.us/img715/6996/giantsquid.jpg (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/715/giantsquid.jpg/)
#26 Giant Squid - Cenotes

I don't think this album is as good as The Ichthyologist. Then again, when I first heard The Ichthyologist I didn't think it was as good as Metridium Fields. But I grew to like The Ichthyologist more. I think the real difference though is that Cenotes isn't nearly as much to digest (likely being because it's only 35 minutes in length, which is a mini-album compared to their first two). Thus, I'm extremely skeptical I'll grow to like it more than The Ichthyologist. Nevertheless, it's a fabulous album. But it's a very different album. Just like The Ichthyologist was very different than Metridium Fields. Cenotes is much more progressive and less heavy, very noticeably so. What "heaviness" we do get here doesn't seem intended to produce a metal vibe. Giant Squid's sound is extremely hard to explain in words. Sometimes it's hypnotic and mesmerizing, sometimes it's chugging and dense, and sometimes I swear it sounds like psychedelic folk (parts of "Snakehead," especially). It's a very post-rock influenced record, but whereas at one point their sound could be described as post-metal, I'm not sure how to genrify this record. If it was ten or fifteen minutes longer I might go ahead and say it's their best release yet. Highlights are very difficult to pick on this one, but I'll give it a shot:
HIGHLIGHTS: "Mating Scars (Isurus metridium)," "Snakehead (Channidae erectus) (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EztgTU0bfwU)," "Cenotes (Troglocambarus maclanei)"

slapguitarer
12-10-2011, 02:25 PM
I love, love, LOVE Lapsus. While it's much, much higher on my list, I get the points you make justifying its spot on your list. Primum Movens is my favorite song of 2011. :lovedup:

illuminatus917
12-10-2011, 05:51 PM
I love, love, LOVE Lapsus. While it's much, much higher on my list, I get the points you make justifying its spot on your list. Primum Movens is my favorite song of 2011. :lovedup:

I knew Lapsus was contending for your album of the year, which I can totally understand. Definitely one of the strongest post-metal albums of the year.

Thanks for reading man. :fist:

hb420
12-11-2011, 12:43 AM
http://img854.imageshack.us/img854/4866/7040277501.jpg (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/854/7040277501.jpg/)
#34 The Atlas Moth - An Ache for the Distance

Another great band on Profound Lore's roster. The dual vocals - black metalish screams contrasted with cleans - really give this album an edge. The screams are much lower in the mix and the cleans are much higher in the mix. The sound itself is a very sludgy psychedelic mixture of stoner rock and stoner doom. The guitars are very heavy. And the riffs are very melodic. Nothing's too crazy or over the top, it's just very rock 'n roll inspired stoner doom. It moves along at a nice pace. Like Tombs' Path of Totality, this record has received a lot of praise throughout the metal community, and if you've noticed, this record is right alongside Tombs' on a lot of EOY lists. Path of Totality is in every sense more aggressive and more heavy and more crushing than this record, but this record has more feeling in it.
HIGHLIGHTS: "Holes in the Desert," "Gemini," "An Ache for the Distance," "Horse Thieves"


http://img708.imageshack.us/img708/8830/001206605full.jpg (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/708/001206605full.jpg/)
#33 Deafheaven - Roads to Judah

Okay, so this record drew a lot of attention from Alcest and Lantlós lovers. idrinkwine said early in the year that this record would be the "Écailles de Lune of 2011." Part of me wants to agree with that, and part of me wants to curb stomp the idea that this record is even remotely close to the caliber of Écailles de Lune. There are times when I feel it, and there are times when I don't. It's completely safe to say, however, that this album doesn't even compare on an emotional level to Écailles de Lune, to me at least. I've revisited it more than a few times, thinking I might pick something up from it I overlooked before, but nope. This record stands with me now just as it did when I first heard it. I don't even understand the argument that this isn't black metal. Sure, it's better classified as post-black metal, but black metal it is nonetheless. In fact I think this record is far more "black" than Écailles de Lune was. It's very blastbeat-filled, it features mid-paced beats against a wall of atmosphere, and all the vocals are black metal vocals. Post influenced black metal haters hate, I'm really liking where the genre's at right now.
HIGHLIGHTS: "Violet" (best song on the album), "Language Games," "Tunnel of Trees" (second best song on the album)


Awesome picks man, totally agree with you on The Atlas Moth being better than Tombs. Also on where post-metal black metal is headed, with bands like Deafheaven, and Atlar of Plagues leading the charge.

King Slender
12-11-2011, 06:10 AM
Dammerfarben sounds interesting.....will have to check them out.

DethMaiden
12-11-2011, 07:22 AM
Well, WITTR is crazy low. ;) I wouldn't be surprised if most of our lists overlap at very different positions.

illuminatus917
12-11-2011, 10:36 AM
Dammerfarben sounds interesting.....will have to check them out.

Definitely do! And I'm so glad you're looking into some of this stuff. Let's me know there's some worth in making lists like these. "Nachtgedanken" is my favorite song on that album.

Well, WITTR is crazy low. ;) I wouldn't be surprised if most of our lists overlap at very different positions.

Yeah, PJ Harvey was placed entirely too high on your list, for example. ;)

illuminatus917
12-13-2011, 04:49 PM
http://img708.imageshack.us/img708/2894/insomniumoneforsorrow3.jpg (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/708/insomniumoneforsorrow3.jpg/)
#25 Insomnium - One For Sorrow

Insomnium has always written more emotional melodic death metal than of any of the "big 3" of the genre (if you don't know who they are, :nonono:), and this album is no exception. They're one of the best bands to hail out of Finland (a cesspool of awesome music). I find it particularly difficult to rank this band's albums, but I will say their last two, Above the Weeping World and Across the Dark, and this one are my favorites. On the last record we first heard clean vocals, and I instantly loved them. None of the band's fortes or trademarks were altered or surrendered; instead, the cleans just added an additional dimension to the band's sound. These vocals are by Profane Omen and Enemy Of The Sun's Jules Näveri, and they're well executed on this album just like they were on Across the Dark. And just like on Across the Dark, they're not featured throughout the album, just on a few select tracks. In fact they're used incredibly sparingly. When they are present, they add a very emotional disposition to the songs. I really don't get all the talk of how sad/depressing this band is. I mean, sure, there's that aspect to their music, but it's really not overwhelming to me. I guess these death metal kids just haven't listened to enough black and doom metal, because this really doesn't compare. This band has proved to be incredibly consistent. They've found their place in the world, and that's where they'll stay. And for them, that's okay. One For Sorrow is another excellent release by a band that doesn't disappoint.
Provided below is a link to the most "unrepresentative of the album" song on the album, I just really enjoy it...
HIGHLIGHTS: "Song of the Blackest Bird," "Only One Who Waits," "Decoherence (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k9iFvw3S9VI)," "Lay the Ghost to Rest," "One For Sorrow"


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#24 Black Oath - The Third Aeon

I thought this was the heaviest album of the year. Absolutely raw, sinister guitar tone. Crushingly heavy riffs. And... OCCULT METAL! Put all these things together and you can't lose.

Italy's Black Oath debuted a self-titled EP in 2009 through Horror Records from Denmark, and now, they've released their first full-length through I Hate. The band quotes "I Hate is the best label to spread our curse." Italy has a rich history of occult doom bands (Death SS, Paul Chain, Black Hole), and Black Oath attributes this to its "magick atmosphere." Everything relates to death. Lots of cemeteries, lots of monuments, lots of catacombs.

This is one of those bands that came out of nowhere. The Candlemass influence is pretty obvious, as is the influence from bands like Abysmal Dawn, Solitude Aeturnus, and Mercyful Fate. The sound of this record is pretty much as I described above. A killer guitar tone, heavy pounding riffs, slow drums, and brilliant soaring clean vocals at the top of the mix. No harsh vocals found here. Lyrics revolve around esoterism, occultism, horror, thelemic literature, etc. The album title itself is a dedication to Crowley and his Thelema Aeon (anyone who's read Crowley knows about this). What you'd expect from an occult band.
HIGHLIGHTS: "Death as Liberation (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kBOWnvE7Aso)," Growth of a Star Within," "Evil Sorcerer," "The Black Oath"


http://img839.imageshack.us/img839/9205/rszrussiancirclesempros.jpg (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/839/rszrussiancirclesempros.jpg/)
#23 Russian Circles - Empros

Like Insomnium, here's a band with an impressive back catalogue. It actually feels like this being the case for bands on this list is the exception, which is exceptional in and of itself... the 2011 influx of new artists with fantastic first releases is truly stunning. But Russian Circles isn't one of those bands, and anyone that's familiar with Russian Circles knows they have an unmistakable sound, even though each and every album they've done brings something new to the table. Station dropped the headbanging intensity Enter had, Geneva implemented strings, and now Empros has thrown in a black metal tone. The playing itself is just as articulate as ever, if not more so. When Cook was asked about the making of the album, he remarked "I'll never make another record from the ground up." This album is really heavy. It might just be the heaviest Russian Circles album to date. "309" and "Mlŕdek" both start the album off with tremendous intensity, and then with "Schipol" the aggression just evaporates into introspection. "Schipol" is probably my favorite track on the album. It's as emotional as Russian Circles has ever been before. For all its thirty-five minutes of heaviness (for the most part), the album ends with a track that's very spiritual in nature, and it features vocals from Cook, which is very rare thing. If you're one of those folks that can't listen to music without vocals, the first five tracks of this album aren't for you.
HIGHLIGHTS: "Mlŕdek," "Schipol (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E9gmVOgn9X4)," "Atackla"


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#22 Florence + the Machine - Ceremonials

Florence and the Machine's 2009 debut, Lungs, was met with widespread critical acclaim. It hit #2 on the UK album chart for five weeks straight following its release, hit #1 for two consecutive weeks at one point, peaked at #1 on the Irish and U.S. album charts, went gold in the U.S., 5x platinum in the UK, 4x platinum in Ireland, was a contender for the 2009 Mercury Prize, won the Mastercard British Album award at the 2010 BRIT Awards, etc. (yes, you can thank Wikipedia for all that). The album was a tremendous success. So Florence Welsh and company had their hands full trying to follow it up. Ceremonials is in some ways a better album than Lungs, and in some ways it isn't. It's far more cohesive, for one, where Lungs was more sporadic and unpredictable. Some would argue that's a good thing, some wouldn't. If anything, the random style of Lungs resulted in a more interesting and imaginative bunch of songs. The jazzy interludes and punk guitars really spiced it up and made it a thrill to listen to. Ceremonials is far more smooth, looming, and uniform. It can feels gothic at times. Florence twists romantic themes into most every track, dealing with love and loss, giving the album a very pensive and weighty feeling. "Regrets collect like old friends, here to relive your darkest moments." She actually said this record is "more joyous" than her debut, because apparently she wrote the debut after a break-up, but this album really has a heavy feeling to it. And to me it sounds darker and more reflective. I've listened to this record probably a dozen times by now, and I think it's definitely more emotional than Lungs. The vocals, as expected, are absolutely fantastic. Her vocal prowess is as stunning on this record as it was on Lungs. She's definitely one of the most powerful front women around today.
HIGHLIGHTS: "Only if For a Night," "Shake it Out," "Breaking Down," "Seven Devils," "Heartlines"


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#21 Oranssi Pazuzu - Kosmonument

I'd never heard a psychedelic black metal album before this one. I can safely say this record was my introduction to a genre I didn't even know was a genre until I heard this album. After some reading I found that, at least according to most, most all psychedelic black metal albums have sounded horrible, and have been disastrous efforts attempting to breach genre borders to find new territory. This album is the one that actually accomplishes that.

Pushing the boundaries of a genre to create something different and purposefully weird isn't necessarily unique, just avant-garde. Crafting a sound all-together different from anything else out there, which can result in creating an entirely new genre... that's unique. At least that's how I look at it. This is the "uniquest" album of the year next to SORNE's House of Stone.

Some tracks here are very quiet (and instrumental), and unsettling. This whole album is unsettling, but the quieter tracks are the "freakiest" to me. These include "Luhistuva Aikahäkki," "Siirtorata 100 10100," "∞," and parts of "Andromeda." The vocals in "Andromeda" are just eerie. The more intense tracks range from weird to downright bizarre. I can't even explain the atmosphere this record captures... it's almost otherworldly. Black metal screams appear here and there. There's a fair share of tremolo picking and blastbeating (in "Uusi Olento Nousee" and "Loputon Tuntematon," especially). But a major component of the sound here is sludginess. The record is sludgier than it is black. There are a lot of noise/sound effects, too. Definitely approach this album with an open mind. It's not your run-of-the-mill black metal record.
HIGHLIGHTS: "Sienipilvi," "Komeetta," "Andromeda (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RSNBtDM4Aco)," "Kaaos Hallitsee"

DethMaiden
12-13-2011, 04:53 PM
Can't believe you like Ceremonials more than Let England Shake, although I will say it lacks the quality that "Dog Days Are Over" has of making me immediately want to blow my brains out when it starts playing. ;)

illuminatus917
12-13-2011, 05:00 PM
I was wondering if you'd heard Ceremonials. Any fan of Kate Bush should dig Florence Welch. I guess you're one of the folks that thought Lungs was more on the depressing side than this one... bah. ;)

BlackDiamond
12-13-2011, 06:04 PM
http://img64.imageshack.us/img64/2702/screenshot20111212at851.png (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/64/screenshot20111212at851.png/)
#24 Black Oath - The Third Aeon

I thought this was the heaviest album of the year. Absolutely raw, sinister guitar tone. Crushingly heavy riffs. And... OCCULT METAL! Put all these things together and you can't lose.

Italy's Black Oath debuted a self-titled EP in 2009 through Horror Records from Denmark, and now, they've released their first full-length through I Hate. The band quotes "I Hate is the best label to spread our curse." Italy has a rich history of occult doom bands (Death SS, Paul Chain, Black Hole), and Black Oath attributes this to its "magick atmosphere." Everything relates to death. Lots of cemeteries, lots of monuments, lots of catacombs.

This is one of those bands that came out of nowhere. The Candlemass influence is pretty obvious, as is the influence from bands like Abysmal Dawn, Solitude Aeturnus, and Mercyful Fate. The sound of this record is pretty much as I described above. A killer guitar tone, heavy pounding riffs, slow drums, and brilliant soaring clean vocals at the top of the mix. No harsh vocals found here. Lyrics revolve around esoterism, occultism, horror, thelemic literature, etc. The album title itself is a dedication to Crowley and his Thelema Aeon (anyone who's read Crowley knows about this). What you'd expect from an occult band.
HIGHLIGHTS: "Death as Liberation (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kBOWnvE7Aso)," Growth of a Star Within," "Evil Sorcerer," "The Black Oath"




This is why I joined this website because I never heard of this band until today and fuck I'm loving this right now

illuminatus917
12-13-2011, 07:33 PM
This is why I joined this website because I never heard of this band until today and fuck I'm loving this right now

I'd never heard of them until a month ago :lol:

Glad you're digging it man. :fist: Those opening notes in "Death as Liberation" are just killer.

illuminatus917
12-15-2011, 11:21 PM
http://img859.imageshack.us/img859/7506/62ec8f9ffe7447898ff3004.jpg (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/859/62ec8f9ffe7447898ff3004.jpg/)
#20 Taake - Noregs Vaapen

There is no experimenting with genre crossovers here. There never has been with Taake (Hoest). This is pure Norwegian black metal. That's not to say this album is the same as all of Taake's others. Hoest has always experimented with different approaches to black metal, he's just never fully incorporated another genre in with it. This album contains a lot of heavy metal riffs. And a lot of them are quite memorable. "Nordbundet" and "Helvetesmakt" are examples of this (I wish that intro riff to "Helvetesmakt" lasted longer). This album definitely sits on the 'black metal with obvious heavy metal tendencies' side of the spectrum, yet it's not even close to being a heavy metal record. There's nothing hipster about this record (save one short segment in one song). There are a few very brief voice samples on random tracks, which always enhance the interesting factor. Oh, and if you want to hear a banjo in a black metal song, listen to "Myr."
HIGHLIGHTS: "Fra Vadested til Vaandesmed," "Myr," "Helvetesmakt," "Dei Vil Alltid Klaga og Kyta"


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#19 Execration - Odes of the Occult

I really enjoyed this record more than I thought I would. This isn't typical death metal. There are a lot of things going on here, and if nothing else this album is an excellent showcase of how diverse death metal can be. Importantly, tempo variations. A lot of this is played at a doom pace (parts of the longest track on the album, "A Crutch For Consolation," as well as parts of "Unction" and "Soul Maggot," for example, roll along at a particularly slow pace), which is much to my liking. Also parts of the album are played at a much faster pace. Tempo variance is almost always a necessity for successful modern death metal. The album opener, "Ode to Obscurity" opens up with a riff reminiscent of Autopsy, and it's fairly obvious from the beginning that Odes of the Occult is an album with classic death metal roots. I know when people think of Norway they think of the black metal scene, but I'm here to say anyone looking for some evil sounding music can find it in Execration. It's definitely not overproduced. This is death metal with balls. No breakdowns to be found. Parts are very straightforward, parts are very technical, parts are catchy, parts are Autopsy meets My Dying Bride, but it's all weird and creative.
Youtube uploads of tracks on this album are pretty sparse, so I only had a few to choose from. That's okay though, "A Crutch for Consolation" is the best track on the album.
HIGHLIGHTS: "Ode to Obscurity," "A Crutch for Consolation (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W13qacGM740&feature=related)," "Soul Maggot," "Left in Scorn"

Looking ahead, there's only one death metal record placed higher than this one, which just so happens to be #16, and one death/doom record up higher on the list. So, congratulations to Execration for putting out one of my favorite death metal releases of the year!


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#18 Vektor - Outer Isolation

One of the most highly anticipated releases of the year for a lot of folks on this site. I've yet to get a really solid idea of its perception throughout the metal world. Outer Isolation's predecessor, Black Future, was hailed by many as the best thrash release of the past decade, so this album certainly had some hype to live up to. First with the differences. Here are the noticeable changes Vektor made with Outer Isolation:
1. Less black metal sound and more progressive/classic thrash sound
2. More dynamic
3. Increased song variation
4. Better production

I wasn't one of those folks that thought Black Future was the greatest thrash album of the past decade. I thought it was an awesome album, but not a mind-numbingly awesome album. This time around, Vektor has created an album that's closer to being a "mind-numbingly awesome album." The sound of this thing is really something. It sounds like it's been sent back in time from a hundred years in the future. And it sounds like it's from a time where music is just produced differently than it is now. There's a very punchy sound to it. The guitar work is executed with magnificent precision. And it's beefier, with more substance. It's more explosive. The bulk of the album is speed, but I mentioned "dynamics" for a reason. There are definitely softer, more melodic parts on this album ("Tetrastructural Minds," for instance), whereas there really weren't on Black Future. Paces change really quick on this album, which is an instant improvement over the first. It's definitely the most technically proficient album on my entire list.
Not without cons, however: the drumming sounds irritatingly artificial, and the vocals aren't nearly as incredible as people claim. Sorry, but David Disanto doesn't hold a candle to Tom Araya.
HIGHLIGHTS: "Cosmic Cortex," "Tetrastructural Minds," "Outer Isolation"


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#17 KYPCK - Ниже

Russian for "Under." KYPCK is a Finnish band that "sings in Russian for the lulz," as brutal descent was so kind to point out to me (he's probably not even reading this, the little shit). I originally thought it was a Russian band singing in Russian... since... you know... all their album titles and lyrics are in Russian… but it so happens that the band is from Finland. Their first album was released in 2008 (titled Черно), but I haven't heard it so there won't be any comparisons between the two.

Amongst all the doom released this year, I've seen this album mentioned surprisingly little. KYPCK calls their music "Fast Russian Doomsday Metal," even though it's the opposite of fast. Ниже crawls at a turtle's pace, just like doom should. There's nothing fast about it. KYPCK's guitarist plays a guitar that looks like a machine gun. It's called a Lopashnikov (whatever that is). And if that's not weird enough, their bassist plays a bass with only one string. Ниже is very melodic and easy to get behind. There's almost a groove to it. Album highlights "Posle (After)" and "Chuzhoi (Stranger)" both demonstrate this. There's a real power to this band. The music steamrolls right over you. Combine that with excellent production and killer clean vocals, and this album is really damn impressive. The more I listened to it the more I liked it. Most if not all the guys in this band are old enough to remember the Soviet Union days, and according to what I've read about the band, all the lyrics are about the U.S.S.R and Russian national identity during the 90's. So if you're ever in the mood, throw some of these lyrics into Google Translator and read about the disgruntled, traumatized, post-communist Russians and their struggle for national identity while you listen to this freight train of an album.
HIGHLIGHTS: "После (After) (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3AuyJGta6Vw)," "Чужой (Stranger)," "Бурлаки на Волге (Burlaks on the Volga)," "Товарищам (Comrades)"


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#16 Necros Christos - Doom of the Occult

I said Execration's Odes of the Occult was a showcase for what death metal can really do. Well, this album is the ultimate showcase for what death metal can really do. That's basically what it takes to get me real interested in a death metal record these days... it has to be avant-garde. If there's not something different about it, it's going out the window. And I'm not talking about lame symphonic effects, I'm talking about things that actually make it stand out. If it's uniform, it's going out the window. If it's technical with zero creativity, it's going out the window. If it's brutal for the sake of being brutal, it's going out the window.

Doom of the Occult is about as creative and non-uniform a death metal record can be. You might take a look at the track listing here:
http://www.metal-archives.com/albums/Necros_Christos/Doom_of_the_Occult/300603
Twenty-three tracks, an hour and thirteen minutes in length. The intro, outro, and interludes comprise fourteen tracks on the album, all of which are instrumental. Temple's I-VIII consist mostly of church organs. Gate's 1-5 consist of Arabic folk instruments (including mostly acoustics and woodwinds, see for example: "Gate 2 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KZaQrcACeyQ&feature=related)"). These contrast impressively well with the death metal tracks on the album, and they very successfully prevent the album from becoming monotonous (which a lot of albums would over the course of an hour and thirteen minutes). So if you do the math, there are only nine metal tracks on this album. And as you may assume, they're all doom influenced. "Baal of Ekron" and "Succumbed to Sarkum Phagum" are examples of 'slow progression.' Starting out faster, like a more typical death metal track, and subsiding to doom. “Doom of Kali Ma – Pyramid of Shakti Love – Flame of Master Shiva,” which is the longest track on the album at 9:27, as gathered from the song title and the lyrics (Kali Ma - Hindu goddess of shakti/devi, all other Hindu goddesses are considered her "manifestations in different light," and the mention of Shiva - the Hindu god of destruction) it's about worshiping mythical Hindu deities. This track is particularly doomy, and really demonstrates Necros Christos' masterful songwriting ability. "Descending into the Kinly Tomba" features a fantastic solo about 2:25 in, as does "Necromatique Nun" at 2:51 in. This album is really a perfect example of structural death metal perfection.
HIGHLIGHTS: "Invoked from Carrion Slumber," "Doom of Kali Ma – Pyramid of Shakti Love – Flame of Master Shiva (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z2MJ37JrHcY&feature=related)," "Succumbed to Sarkum Phagum," "The Pharaonic Dead," "Descending into the Kinly Tomba," as well as "Gate 2" mentioned above.

larvtard
12-15-2011, 11:26 PM
(he's probably not even reading this, the little shit).

Execration is awesome :drool:

illuminatus917
12-15-2011, 11:46 PM
Execration is awesome :drool:

I liked the remark before the edit better. ;)

EDIT: And yes, they should've made your list, tub boy :nonono: ;)

King Slender
12-16-2011, 10:42 AM
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#32 Sólstafir - Svartir Sandar

After I first heard this it immediately broke my top 15. And there's no way I'd argue against someone having it that high. But as happens so often, my tendency to overhype an album slowly subsides with time... and that's exactly what happened here. I realized I didn't like this album as much as I thought I did. Stylistically, Sólstafir isn't the same band that used to play viking black metal. They've gone in a completely different direction with their sound, and it's working for them. This album is brilliantly executed. Spanning two discs, it's quite a lot to take in, and while I feel it might've actually been stronger with a few songs omitted, this album should be recognized as a cohesively well-constructed body of work. Ranging from solemn, melancholic tunes to uptempo, aggressive, dark gothic metal tunes, Svartir Sandar covers a broad spectrum of feeling. There's really something punk about this album as well, even though I can't put my finger on it (maybe the vocals remind me of punk?). Side I is better than side II overall. If the whole album was the quality of the first two tracks, it'd be a top 10 for sure with top 5 potential. Kudos to Sólstafir for trying something new and running with it.
HIGHLIGHTS: "Ljós í Stormi," "Fjara," "Kukl"


Listening to this for the 1st time as I type and I'm diggin' it so far.

idrinkwine732
12-17-2011, 10:21 PM
I've decided I'm going to start my thread when this one ends, just so I can offer some opinions on some of the last few albums that this good fellow here has that I might have missed.

You and I have collaborated fairly well throughout the year though, I'd be surprised if there were more than one or two left that aren't on my list.

illuminatus917
12-17-2011, 10:44 PM
You might be surprised ;)

I've been waiting for your thread to pop up. I was starting to think you might hold out on us this year, due to stress of college life and whatnot... glad to know that isn't the case. I'm still getting my shit together for the next post, but I'll have it up by tomorrow. I'd like to finish this thing ASAP.

idrinkwine732
12-17-2011, 11:01 PM
You might be surprised ;)

I've been waiting for your thread to pop up. I was starting to think you might hold out on us this year, due to stress of college life and whatnot... glad to know that isn't the case. I'm still getting my shit together for the next post, but I'll have it up by tomorrow. I'd like to finish this thing ASAP.

It'd be too much of a disservice to this year's fantastic material to not have a thread :cool:.

I just really didn't want to participate in the apparent inundation of the first page with Best of Threads.

hb420
12-18-2011, 01:14 AM
http://img196.imageshack.us/img196/966/oransipazuzu.jpg (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/196/oransipazuzu.jpg/)
#21 Oranssi Pazuzu - Kosmonument

I'd never heard a psychedelic black metal album before this one. I can safely say this record was my introduction to a genre I didn't even know was a genre until I heard this album. After some reading I found that, at least according to most, most all psychedelic black metal albums have sounded horrible, and have been disastrous efforts attempting to breach genre borders to find new territory. This album is the one that actually accomplishes that.

Pushing the boundaries of a genre to create something different and purposefully weird isn't necessarily unique, just avant-garde. Crafting a sound all-together different from anything else out there, which can result in creating an entirely new genre... that's unique. At least that's how I look at it. This is the "uniquest" album of the year next to SORNE's House of Stone.

Some tracks here are very quiet (and instrumental), and unsettling. This whole album is unsettling, but the quieter tracks are the "freakiest" to me. These include "Luhistuva Aikahäkki," "Siirtorata 100 10100," "∞," and parts of "Andromeda." The vocals in "Andromeda" are just eerie. The more intense tracks range from weird to downright bizarre. I can't even explain the atmosphere this record captures... it's almost otherworldly. Black metal screams appear here and there. There's a fair share of tremolo picking and blastbeating (in "Uusi Olento Nousee" and "Loputon Tuntematon," especially). But a major component of the sound here is sludginess. The record is sludgier than it is black. There are a lot of noise/sound effects, too. Definitely approach this album with an open mind. It's not your run-of-the-mill black metal record.
HIGHLIGHTS: "Sienipilvi," "Komeetta," "Andromeda (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RSNBtDM4Aco)," "Kaaos Hallitsee"

:party:GREAT RECORD:party:

This is an outstanding release, that has such a unique sound, while never feeling gimmick ridden setting it above many BM releases this year.

Natrlhi
12-18-2011, 09:00 AM
It'd be too much of a disservice to this year's fantastic material to not have a thread :cool:.

I just really didn't want to participate in the apparent inundation of the first page with Best of Threads.This for me as well. I'll be getting mine started soon.

It should be finished by summertime. ;)

illuminatus917
12-18-2011, 11:37 AM
I really don't remember so many lists last year... maybe there were this many, but I don't remember it. It's ridiculous how many there are right now. I don't blame you guys for starting late. Come June it's probably safe to say Natrlhi will have a monopoly on end-of-year thread attention. :lol:

Natrlhi
12-18-2011, 11:44 AM
I really don't remember so many lists last year... maybe there were this many, but I don't remember it. It's ridiculous how many there are right now. I don't blame you guys for starting late. Come June it's probably safe to say Natrlhi will have a monopoly on end-of-year thread attention. :lol:No, there are DEFINITELY more year-end threads this year than I ever remember seeing, and I've been around for about four years now. It's getting so that the folks who have been here for a while but don't normally post them are actually feeling like they're missing out on something so they're posting lists of their own for the first time ever. Personally, I like it. It's a lot of stuff to weed through, but I'd rather see more than less, because you never know where some good stuff is gonna come from.

idrinkwine732
12-18-2011, 12:30 PM
In the now 3 years that I've seen year end lists on here, this is by far the most. It's ridiculous. It's great bored reading.

mankvill
12-18-2011, 12:32 PM
In the now 3 years that I've seen year end lists on here, this is by far the most. It's ridiculous. It's great bored reading.

Giving me so much work at the beginning of next year. :bouville:

Natrlhi
12-18-2011, 04:01 PM
Giving me so much work at the beginning of next year. :bouville:Why? You don't have to go into everybody's individual year-end thread to look for voting results. They'll post them where they're supposed to post them or they won't be counted. Are you complaining that there might be slightly more votes to count in the one thread that you have to check? Will your spreadsheet have a few extra columns or rows to it this year? Oh, you poor dear. :bawling: :violin:

I hereby rescind my vote for Manks as a new mod. He's lazy and he bitches a lot.

ravenheart
12-18-2011, 04:20 PM
He's lazy and he bitches a lot.

This is not news to me.

illuminatus917
12-18-2011, 04:40 PM
I hereby rescind my vote for Manks as a new mod. He's lazy and he bitches a lot.

We should weigh this in terms of the value of the best alternative that is foregone.

Cons:
1. he's lazy and bitches a lot
2. he's a sarcastic asshole
3. he does the annoying internet thingy (too unprofessional to be a mod)

Pros:
1. all threads about or pertaining to deathcore would be deleted, and his banning of deathcore fans would be merciless


I changed my mind. Mankvill for mod.

illuminatus917
12-18-2011, 08:15 PM
King Slender, I'm glad you're digging that album. "Fjara" has 22 plays in my itunes :D


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#15 Sey Hollo - Growth

Sey Hollo is a project by Sebastian Larsson from Sweden. He's mainly a pianist, and this project was basically founded because he was frustrated with the lack of piano music out there, so he decided to start writing it himself. His being very interested in hard rock/metal is apparent, but he's said his influences come from a variety of genres, which isn't hard to believe when listening to his music. He's created his own unique style of post-rock.

Growth is one of the EP's mentioned in the Moonlit Sailor review. Despite having less qualitative material than Colors in Stereo, it does more with less. I said in someone else's thread not too long ago that a smaller amount of excellent material is better than a larger amount of "okay" material, and I really do hold to that. Quality > quantity. I know a Moonlit Sailor fan would think me an imbecile, but what Sey Hollo accomplishes in the last 23 minutes of this album does more for me than anything Moonlit Sailor could ever do throughout the course of a 40+ minute album. This is just more my brand of post-rock. I find it much more emotional. The tracks are longer. There are build-ups. Songs evolve from fundamental melodies to elaborate compositions. When I think of excellent post-rock, this is the type of material I think of. Also, there's something really genuine about one man projects. And it's not because it's one person playing all the instruments, but because all the music, all the songwriting, all the thoughts, all the ideas, etc. are coming from one mind. There's no conflicting; it's the manifestation of one individual's self in musical form. Pure, uncontested creativity. Sebastian Larsson said “my song writing always starts with a message or an idea that I want to share. The music then builds itself up around this theme. Therefore, the music is just a tool, a small part of a greater process. This tool should be shared. That is why my music is (and always will be) free for all to download.”
Given this, go here: http://seyhollo.bandcamp.com/album/growth. Listen to it.
That remark about the beginning of the songwriting process being an idea or a message is evident in "Growth." And in the last minute of the song we learn what the idea was (ghost of capitalism). "Growth" is one of the best songs of 2011.
HIGHLIGHTS: "World Trade Center," "Growth," "Vita Si Chakila"


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#14 Mournful Congregation - The Book of Kings

I take issue with claims that these guys are the gods of funeral doom. And this isn't their best release. The Monad of Creation and The June Frost were both better, to be honest. And after listening to this and going back and listening to their back catalogue, including material from splits, I suppose I just miss not dreading listening to what lays before me. I don't like listening to mediocre material to get to the good stuff. The Book of Kings is so long. Clocking in at an hour and sixteen minutes, it's the longest album they've released by about sixteen minutes. And that sixteen minutes makes a huge difference. The material here is still solid. With The June Frost we saw the band craft more concise compositions. With this album, they've returned to the "Monad of Creation" format - long, drawn out compositions, and fewer tracks. And as you'd expect, certain segments of these massive tracks stand out and really make the album. 14:50 minutes into "The Catechism of Depression," a riff appears that immediately grabs your attention, and from that point to the end of the song (the song eventually fades out with this riff) marks one of the highlights of the album. If 75-90% of the album was as memorable as the end of this track, you'd see the The Book of Kings in my top 5. Another highlight comes at 9:13 in "The Waterless Streams" (which as a whole is one of the better of the four songs). I also love the soloing that starts after the 6:00 mark, then especially around 6:45. Yes, the last half of "The Waterless Stream" is excellent. "The Bitter Veils of Solemnity" is mostly acoustic and is the 'easy listening' track on the album. As a general principle, all of these songs end better than they begin.

"Vast," "universal," "baroque," and "sinister" were some words Mournful Congregation used to describe the album just before it came out. If I could add one word to that, it'd be "apocalyptic." If by some chance the world actually ends in 2012, and the apocalypse becomes a reality, this monolithic behemoth of an album might get my vote for its soundtrack.
HIGHLIGHTS: "The Catechism of Depression," "The Book of Kings"


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#13 Ordog - Remorse

In Hungarian mythology, Ördög is a demonic creature that personifies the dark and evil aspects of the world, much like what Satan personifies in the Christian world. And that's definitely what Ordog (the band) tries to personify with their music. Ordog's biggest influence is life itself, as insignificant as it is. Their lead singer said "my biggest influences are my own dark and twisted mind, and memories full of distress and misfortune." I think its safe to say misanthropy plays a critical role in this band's songwriting process, and is an integral part of their music.

This is Ordog's third release. Crow and the Storm in 2006, and Life is too Short for Learning to Live in 2008 are its two predecessors, but I've heard neither of them. This is by far their longest release to date; at one hour and nine minutes in length, it beats their next longest release by twenty-three minutes.

This record is only placed right in front of Mournful Congregation's because I feel it's a better album as a whole. There are a few select parts of The Book of Kings that'll just knock you dead, but there was also a lot of "meh" on it as well. This record, while still containing a certain amount of "meh" (as almost any doom record will), is chock-full of deep riffs and rich atmosphere. Many more minutes of material I'll be listening to over and over in the future on this record. It would certainly be out of place to call this symphonic doom, but there are keyboards and pianos present. Keyboards appear on "Shadowland" and "Boneyard Horizon" (which have two of the most memorable keyboard parts), not to play any prominent melody or anything, but to just put a floor on the atmosphere. A memorable piano part is played on "Betrayed," throughout the last half of the song. These things are never the sole focus of attention, or even the primary focus of attention, but they add a really nice, uncommon, layer to Ordog's doom. Contrasted with the slow, heavy riffing, it makes for some really emotional doom in a really unusual way.
HIGHLIGHTS: "Human Shell," Betrayed," "Shadowland," "Boneyard Horizon," of which the latter three are the (undisputed) best tracks on the album.
I realize I've been highlighting, in some cases, the majority of songs on these albums which kind of defeats the purpose of highlighting. I just wouldn't feel right not crediting the awesome tracks, even if they're in the majority.


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#12 Summer Fades Away - Unkind time, Beautiful Memory

I'm going to quote DethMaiden, since I could't possibly recapitulate the point any better: "Post-rock is one of the non-metal genres that most readily appeals to metal audiences. Its penchant for atmosphere and intensity without employing riffs or (usually) vocals sort of casts it as metal’s intellectual, artsy brother – still interested in crushing skulls, but with musings on Kierkegaardian despair rather than combat boots." Now, while that may appear more relevant to This Will Destroy You's release, I think it's relevant here as well, because Summer Fades Away crushes its audience too, just in a totally different way. Recall in the Moonlit Sailor blurb I cast Colors in Stereo as a rarity because of its happiness and pop-esque upbeatness. Think me vain but I've always thought darker post-rock, which is certainly more abundant, is more powerful than the upbeat kind. Unkind Time, Beautiful Memory is crushing because it's tone is so devastatingly, yet realistically, dismal and melancholic, and maybe even misanthropistic. It personifies the passing of time in a way that just seems so real and inevitable and depressing. Unlike the #1 release of the year, this record focuses solely on this concept. The result is an EP more powerful than most all full-lengths of 2011.
Dynamic formulas, powerful aggression, guitar and piano ambiance, melodic themes, all lean towards (I know it sounds redundant at this point, but it's just the truth) incredible potential for this young band.

It's only thirty-one minutes in length, but an incredible thirty-one minutes it is. The first track, "Thank You," slowly builds for the first four and a half minutes or so until it really kicks in around the 5:00 mark. Then it gets soft again, then explodes at 7:33. The songwriting here is really, really, really impressive. "Forgiveness" is a short piano-led interlude between the two massive tracks. "A Pavilion" is the EP's crowning achievement. When you think it's going to end, it just keeps going. Truly a must listen for any grand style post-rock fan.
HIGHLIGHTS: "Thank You (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UCLpmk8LYD4)," "Forgiveness," "A Pavillion"


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#11 Saturnalia Temple - Aion of Drakon

"I do not claim to make good music. I do claim to make occult or dark magical music, much of it owing to the fact that this is my everyday dedication, just like some people watch TV every day (And if you're Gene Simmons there may be great songs also in that...). Someone who is not into occultism or magical initiation at all could still possibly capture something of that nature, but then it would be coincidental, or aimed for entertainment. Nothing wrong with that. But I'm not trying to entertain an audience. To say that an audience is necessary for an artist is to me only true if you're coming from a superficial perspective where you only create to reach out to people and to gain something in return. If one has an occult, magical initiatory attitude, music, once created takes on an immanent nature and is in itself a great reward." --Tommy Eriksson, Saturnalia Temple

Aion of Drakon is yet another debut. So many freshman releases have been incredible this year. Even if the releases themselves were't enough, we can approach the coming years with hope. Because if anything, this year's been a year of hope. And I don't think anything is more encouraging than that.
And just like most every band that has released a debut, Saturnalia Temple just came onto my radar this year. They emerged from the darkness and just impressed the hell out of me. Saturnalia Temple is another occultist band. They immediately remind you of Electric Wizard. Next they remind you of Black Sabbath. Now take those two influences and mix it with 70's psychedelic rock and you have an incredibly unique brand of stoner-doom. The riffs are fairly simple and they're played over and over and over and over but they burn themselves into your mind. The drug-induced vocalist (which has to be the case… if he's not on drugs I'd be even more impressed), who sounds surprisingly similar to Geddy Lee at times, is just incredible; the vocals complete the hypnotic/psychedelic/druggy sound of this album. At times it sounds like it's in slow-motion. Other times, like in "Fall," around the 4:19 mark, you get a decently fast guitar solo that's just mind-numbingly effective. Saturnalia Temple takes a very free attitude towards songs. The music doesn't depend on technicality or dynamics or song structures, but rather heavy textured guitar sounds and atmosphere. "God is Two" and "Sitra Ahra Ruled Solitary Before the Creation" were inspired by the Qliphotic Qabalah (embodiment of evil in Jewish Mysticism). There's some serious thought and knowledge behind the music here, which just makes it all the better. When asked in an interview: "of all the written (and musical) knowledge from the past that has been lost, how much of it can be rediscovered? Can modern discoveries on the creation of the universe, scientific or otherwise, be reconciled with the old creation stories? How can we look into the Devil’s Eye again?," Saturnalia Temple responds "it is quite intriguing that the oldest creation story, the Indian, begins with a universal sound AUM (OM), and String Theory also talks about a sound vibration in creation. In Sanskrit this AUM is the sound of Creation, the sound of Destruction is HA. Quite suitable also in view of modern western language. Ha!"
I would love to discuss further what this awesome band has to say about their music, and how they approach making it, but I'll just end by saying this is THE stoner doom/occultist album of the year. It's a total mesmerizer.
HIGHLIGHTS: "Black Magic Metal (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5QlVbKf092E&feature=related)," "Aion of Drakon," "Ancient Sorceries"

hb420
12-18-2011, 08:18 PM
Saturnalia Temple is awesome, glad to see someone else liking them. Great list up til now man, can't wait for the top ten.

DethMaiden
12-18-2011, 08:19 PM
Saturnalia Temple is awesome, glad to see someone else liking them. Great list up til now man, can't wait for the top ten.

Seconded.

DethMaiden
12-18-2011, 08:49 PM
P.S. thanks for quoting me. :lovedup:

slapguitarer
12-18-2011, 09:26 PM
Saturnalia Temple and Summer Fades Away were both awesome! I'm disappointed I missed out on 'em earlier in the year, because both would've ranked high my list. :rocker:

idrinkwine732
12-18-2011, 09:39 PM
Well shit.

illuminatus917
12-18-2011, 10:38 PM
Saturnalia Temple is awesome, glad to see someone else liking them. Great list up til now man, can't wait for the top ten.

Seconded.

Thanks guys!

Well shit.

Is that a "well shit this isn't what I was expecting" or a "well shit I haven't heard this stuff" ? ;)

Rocco44
12-18-2011, 11:33 PM
Great reviews. You have me sold on quite a few of these albums.

idrinkwine732
12-19-2011, 05:50 AM
Is that a "well shit this isn't what I was expecting" or a "well shit I haven't heard this stuff" ? ;)

Both.

larvtard
12-19-2011, 06:48 AM
After reading these reviews, I can't believe I was so fucking lazy with mine. I could've written something like this if I wanted to.

jhdeity
12-19-2011, 07:28 AM
Great Vektor review. Other than being a mortal lock for my Top 10 I agree with everything you said.

illuminatus917
12-19-2011, 10:29 AM
After reading these reviews, I can't believe I was so fucking lazy with mine. I could've written something like this if I wanted to.

You're going to regret this for the rest of your life.

Great Vektor review. Other than being a mortal lock for my Top 10 I agree with everything you said.

If I liked thrash as much now as I did two or three years ago, Vektor would unquestionably be in my top 5.

illuminatus917
12-20-2011, 12:12 PM
Before I start with the top 10, here's a brief list of albums I really wish I'd listened to sooner (AKA: before I started my list). All of these are definitely worth checking out.

Polar Bear Club - Clash Battle Guilt Pride
Kate Bush - 50 Words For Snow
Doomraiser - Mountains of Madness
Atriarch - Forever the End
Yes - Fly From Here
Dirge - Elysian Magnetic Fields

illuminatus917
12-21-2011, 08:21 PM
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#10 Tides From Nebula - Earthshine

Let me first remark that if I were to do a "best cover art of 2011" list, this album would be #1 on it.

When I first listened to this album, I though it was absolutely fantastic, and a definite contender for post-rock album of the year. For some reason I kept expecting its charm to wear off on me, but it never did. And had I not learned of the two post-rock records that absolutely blew my socks off and ultimately beat it, Earthshine indeed would've been that record this year. There was not a post-rock album released last year better than this one, if that tells you anything.

There's a very cinematic quality about this album. This might just be because the album was produced by Zbigniew Preisner, a Polish composer who's compositional style represents a form of neo-romanticism. "I just can't put my feelings into words" is the epitome of what post-rock is based around. Many consider the absence of vocals a detriment, but when an album comes along like this one I really have a hard time understanding how people can't relate to the music in some form or fashion. The sheer beauty of it is awe-inspiring. No vocals could ever express the feeling captured by the instruments here. The album starts off with a piano and synths, shimmering and laden with atmosphere. Then tribal drums come in and slowly grow louder and louder until the guitars finally explode in a crescendo. The three minute build up to jumpstart the album is fantastic, and from there onward, dynamic, gorgeous, rich, melodic post-rock is what Tides From Nebula exemplifies with perfection. "Caravans" is my favorite track on the album, and "Siberia" is my second favorite; both of these seem to tell stories with their longer compositions. More aggressive tracks ("The Fall of Leviathan") contrast beautifully with softer ambient songs ("Waiting for the World to Turn Back"). This is just an impressively well constructed album, and super emotional to boot. This record cries for interpretation. Just relax and let your imagination flow, and this record will do great things for you.
HIGHLIGHTS: "These Days, Glory Days (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wz4GF2sOEa8&feature=related)," "Waiting for the World to Turn Back," "Caravans," "White Gardens," "Siberia"


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#9 Midnight Odyssey - Funerals From the Astral Sphere

Whereas the previous album would top the "best cover art of 2011" list, this one would be at the bottom. Don't let the cover fool you, though. Behind some serious crappy cover art lays a gymn of an album.

Nevertheless, I'm having some second thoughts about placing this one so high. There was a time earlier in the year when I thought this would be the best black metal album of 2011. And atmospheric-wise, it probably is. But I've been listening to it again to write the review, and it doesn't seem as deserving as it did a few months ago. Nevertheless, Midnight Odyssey is a one man project from Brisbane, Australia. I know, not typically a place we associate black metal with. But Dis Pater has written a humongous amount of material for his first release, Funerals From the Astral Sphere. Both sides combine for a total of two hours and four minutes in length. At first I though it was a bit absurd, to debut a double sided album like this, but at some point I realized the length of the album just added to its mystique. This album begs to be listened to out on a lake or something. Just go outside and listen to it, preferably around dusk. It can do so much for you if you let it.

Trying to break down the album is a pretty daunting task. The opening track, "Falling From Firmament," sets the tone for the entire album. It's one of two 12+ minute songs, both of which (the other being "Those Who Linger at Night") stand out as two of the best tracks on the album. A lot of the material is very soft, ambient, and spacious. He's got the epic space atmosphere down to an art form. There's certainly nothing crushingly heavy about this album. However, there are plenty of black metal moments in the traditional sense. "From a Celestial Throne" is one of the heavier songs on the album, as is "Tears of Starfire." The whole thing is very shoegazish. Vocals are mostly screeches, but there are some moments with clean vocals as well (which are surprisingly effective). "Shores Serene," which isn't a metal track at all, features cleans. As does "An Ode to Dying Spirits," which is the oddball song on the album. The latter is an acoustic gothic sounding song, with clean vocals over an oriental guitar (might be a sitar?). Despite its length, the album flows in dark motion, subsides at times, but always picks itself back up. A truly beautiful album.
HIGHLIGHTS:
Side I: "Fallen From Firmament," "A Death so Pure (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KRaRuEuJYpo&feature=related)," "An Ode To Dying Spirits," "When Death Comes Crawling"
Side II: "Journey Across the Stars," "Never to Return," "Shores Serene (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0mfelVuFFFw&feature=related)," "Those Who Linger at Night"


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#8 Bloodiest - Descent

I've explicitly stated in previous reviews characteristics that constitute what I perceive to be "uniqueness," in terms of music. The most unique albums of the year have been 1) SORNE's House of Stone, and 2) Oranssi Pazuzu's Kosmonument. If there were to be a third "most unique album of the year," I think Bloodiest's Descent would get it.

Bloodiest is a sludgy post-metal band from Chicago comprised of, currently, ten members. I think there were only seven or so though involved in the recording of this album. They've been active for a while now, but this is their first release. If I had to genrify the record myself, I'd go with something along the lines of dark sludgy native Americana post-metal, if that makes any sense. When asked in an interview "What are some of the band members involved in when they are not playing music?," Tony Lazzara answered "cooking and hypnosis." Setting the foremost aside, let's zero in on that second "activity" momentarily - hypnosis. The humorous thing is, that answer should come as sort of surprising. It's not everyday you hear someone answer a question like that with "cooking and hypnosis." But for anyone who's heard Descent, it's not surprising. Because if there's any one perfect adjective to describe this album, it's "hypnotic." "Coh" is simply one of the most hypnotic songs I've ever heard. The first time I listened to that song, as it ended I swear I "snapped back to reality." I think it put me in a two-minute trance.
Pros:
- All the musicians work and play off each other to perfection (one of Bloodiest's greatest strengths)
- The vocals are incredible… rarely are vocals such a vital component of a band's sound. After listening to this album you realize they're an absolute necessity
- A "directionless" or "wandering" approach to songwriting is usually a bad thing, but here the album totally benefits from it
Cons:
- Album length. Descent is a bit short for a post-metal/sludge album...

The piano and acoustic guitar are pivotal to the band's sound, in addition to the vocals. When the album isn't hypnotic and tranquil, it's riveting and suffocating. This band seems to be full of all kinds of ideas. Bloodiest have created a highly impressive work of abstract art with this album. And the good news is, they're already working on their next one.
HIGHLIGHTS: "Coh," "Pastures (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BIOQZE_jbEE&ob=av2e)," "Dead Inside," Slave Rule"


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#7 Cormorant - Dwellings

I was blissfully ignorant of this band just a year and a half ago when I happened upon the Mayhem Boards where I saw this fellow named idrinkwine raving about this band 'Cormorant' that I'd never heard of, and I was like "eh I doubt they're that good." But I looked them up and found the stunningly beautiful album cover of Metazoa, I listened to it, and wow... I was impressed. From the opening melody in "Scavengers Feast" on, I was hooked. I've been following them ever since. And now here they are two years later with a new album out. The album art for Dwellings can be viewed in its entirety here: http://dcmetalreview.com/2011/11/28/npr-streams-cormorants-dwellings-calls-it-best-metal-album-of-2011/.
This was the last album I listened to that really shot its way up on my list.

I'll start by saying that everything about this album lives up to Metazoa, or, more accurately, everything about this album indicates that it should live up to Metazoa. I think I'm so used to Metazoa that I'm having a hard time letting this album have the impact on me that it should - the impact that it's fully capable of having if the listener's capable of absorbing it. Because let's face it, this album is brilliant. It's as coherent as any metal album I've heard this year, it's far more technical than any album needs to be to be good, it's tight and fluid all the way through (the band claims it's even tighter and more focused than Metazoa), it's as dynamic as all get out, the songwriting and tempo variations are flawless, the riffs are melodic, the overlaying of instrumental melodies are executed with pinpoint accuracy... this really is a titan of an album. And I'm not the only one that thinks so. Dwellings might be the only metal album of the year more critically acclaimed than Tombs' Path of Totality. The only difference is, I feel Cormorant really deserves it.

Part of the tightness comes from almost sole use of metal instruments. There are no violins or cellos, and the only use of a piano comes near the end of "Funambulist," and it's extremely faint. This album's a lot more straightforward. As concentrated as it is, the influences are vast. Black metal, progressive metal, traditional metal, doom metal, jazz, and maybe even some post-rock. The band stated, which is definitely true, that the last track on the album, "Unearthly Dreamings," is probably the best showcase of all the band's styles and influences molded into and represented in one track. One of my favorite parts on the album comes at around the 2:15 mark of "Junta," and then the explosion at the 3:37 mark. And the riffs in the first one minute of "The Purest Land." And the solo during the last two minutes of "Funambulist," and the bass during the last one minute. There's so much to dissect with this album, between the different vocal styles, the guitar solos, the riffs, the lyrics... you could literally write a 10-20 page essay breaking this album down.
An elegantly magnificant release.
HIGHLIGHTS: "Funambulist," "Junta," "The Purest Land," "A Howling Dust (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H4QKLDUTpvo)," "Unearthly Dreamings"


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#6 Burzum - Fallen

About a month ago I was sitting in my apartment listening to this album and one of my roommates brought some club from school back to the apartment, and all these kids walked in right around the 4:30 minute mark of "Vanvidd" (perfect timing). I don't think I've ever seen a group of college kids look so uncomfortable.

I'm sure most of you are aware of the story behind Varg, so I see no need to talk about it. What I will say is that all the prison time seems to have enhanced Varg's songwriting prowess. Either that or he spent his long incarceration developing the ideas for this album (and Belus). Varg has created the catchiest album in his 20-year history with Burzum (yes, I think it's catchier than Belus). Part of the catchiness comes from the clean vocal chants he delivers, the likes of which we've never heard on a Burzum album before. This is especially the case in the first track after the intro, "Jeg Faller," as well as in "Valen," "Vanvidd," and "Budstikken." Of course the vocals are in Norwegian, and I haven't taken the time to translate and look up the lyrics, but I feel it's rather beside the point. These vocals really draw the listener's attention. Probably because clean vocal hooks/clean humming/murmuring of this sort aren't exactly emphasized focal points in the black metal rulebook.

The catchiness can also be attributed to the riffs and the guitar melodies. "Jeg Faller" serves as an example for this as well. The opening riff, and the one that comes in at 2:33 (following a brief acoustic bass line, it sounds like), are both extremely memorable. Plus, there's an eventual reprise of the opening riff later in the song. Nearly every song opens up with a highly memorable riff. "Enhver til Sitt" opens up with a slower riff that's one of the most memorable on the album, and it's reprised in various forms throughout the rest of the song (you can hear it solo at 0:01 and 4:21).

Also, the production. The production is very black metal sounding, but more importantly, it's clean and raw sounding simultaneously. Nothing about this is reminiscent of the cold, dismal, grey, desolate Burzum of the 90's. It sounds very polished for a black metal album, and I guess it's the production that accounts for that incredible guitar tone (if it's not I'm at a loss, because I've never heard equipment, or a combination of equipment, create a tone like that... then again I don't really know anything about equipment so maybe I shouldn't be commenting on this). Maybe it was an amp simulator or something. Bottom line, awesome tone. However Varg did it, it sounds incredible. Burzum's Fallen is the second best black metal album of the year.
HIGHLIGHTS: "Jeg Faller," "Vanvidd," "Enhver til Sitt," "Budstikken"

larvtard
12-21-2011, 08:28 PM
Man, you should become a professional reviewer or something.

Agreed on Bloodiest - vocals are so entrancing. But I think it's the perfect length, haha. I never even thought about it as a post-rock album anyway.

slapguitarer
12-21-2011, 08:31 PM
Great calls on Bloodiest and Cormorant. I've heard of Tides of Nebula before, but now I'll definitely check 'em out.

idrinkwine732
12-21-2011, 09:00 PM
A great start to the top 10. Few will have Earthshine in it, but damn that's a fine album.

SomewhereInTime72
12-22-2011, 06:48 AM
Fallen! :bouville: :horns: :cool:

illuminatus917
12-22-2011, 12:37 PM
Fallen! :bouville: :horns: :cool:

Thanks, I think... :eyes:

A great start to the top 10. Few will have Earthshine in it, but damn that's a fine album.

Great calls on Bloodiest and Cormorant. I've heard of Tides of Nebula before, but now I'll definitely check 'em out.

Thank you, both of you. Slap, definitely check out Tides From Nebula. Given your gusto for post-rock, I feel you'll really enjoy it.

Man, you should become a professional reviewer or something.

:allan: :cool: Thanks man. In an attempt to be humble, however…

1) DethMaiden and ravenheart and probably a handful of others deserve that remark more than I do.

2) plenty of people on this site could write reviews as well or better than mine if they put the time into it, yourself included (honestly, I'd be in favor of the mods prohibiting folks from making EOY lists if they're not even going to bother reviewing the albums… call me a Nazi, that's just the way I feel).

and
3) not all my ideas are original… some of the material in these reviews have come from interviews with the bands, interpretations of prior comments and reviews, etc.

DethMaiden
12-25-2011, 07:29 AM
I want a top five now sir. :hmm:

hb420
12-25-2011, 07:55 PM
I want a top five now sir. :hmm:

This

illuminatus917
12-26-2011, 07:21 PM
Sorry everyone for the delay. Now that all the holiday festivities are over, I've had time to finish this up. So...


http://img40.imageshack.us/img40/7664/rszsubrosanhftmo.jpg (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/40/rszsubrosanhftmo.jpg/)
#5 SubRosa - No Help For the Mighty Ones

This is the only album in my top 5 that's achieved a decent amount of acclaim on this site. I can't help but to compare it to Bloodiest's Descent. Both contain such unusual approaches to sludge/doom. This album is another case of brilliant unorthodoxy.

Whereas Bloodiest's Descent was a product of seven musicians, one of which sounds like a Native American, No Help For the Mighty Ones is SubRosa's second album that again features three females (not the same ones, however) and two males. Four of the five members show up on vocals at one point or another, but almost the entirety of the album features female vocals. So yes, SubRosa's one of the few famale-fronted doom bands out there, thus making for yet another somewhat uncommon lineup, and as you'd guess, an uncommon record. As if the female-frontedness wasn't enough, the album has violins. Any doom fan knows that's a rarity. There are only a handful of doom bands that've ever really incorporated violins/strings as an integral part of their music. My Dying Bride did it in the early days with Martin Powell on Turn Loose the Swans and The Angel and the Dark River, for sure, and Virgin Black, Elegeion, Anathema (a little bit), etc. come to mind, but overall it's a pretty unique trait in the doom department. The album also features what any great doom/sludge album should feature: heavy trance-inducing riffs. But what makes it such an unorthodox album for its genre is it's folk vibe, and at times psychedelic vibe. "House Carpenter" is a straight up traditional English folk song. The vocals, which as mentioned already are predominantly all female, aren't particularly skillful, but they're extremely soulful, and they sure work well with SubRosa's style of music. The females lead and one of the male's does rhythm (I believe). Memorable male vocals appear in the end of "Whippoorwill," when we hear "one day I'll be like a bird in flight..."

I will say the album ends stronger than it begins, at least I thought. The last four tracks are, as a group of tracks, better than the first four. The dirty bass is ever present, except on the one aforementioned track ("House Carpenter"). The drums are scarce, very slow (which isn't to say they're not accomplished - slow drums can be extremely difficult when timing is taken into consideration), and they're used more as a filler than what most metal listeners are probably used to. SubRosa might easily be compared to bands like Acid Bath. They've found their niche, it works beautifully, and there's not another band that's going to sound like them. They're a rare type of unique. I'm not kidding when I say this album is unorthodox for its genre, which is why the fact that everything clicks so perfectly is such an accomplishment.

Also, the one non-metal track has been the topic of some debate. I'm going to include it in my highlights just because I think it's pivotal for the completion of this album as a whole.
HIGHLIGHTS: "Beneath the Crown," "Attack on Golden Mountain (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tMu6YS-FNHw)," "Whippoorwill," "House Carpenter," "Dark Country"


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#4 Falls of Rauros - The Light That Dwells in Rotten Wood

Falls of Rauros is a band that lurks in the shadows behind bands like Wolves in the Throne Room. My reaction to this album was the opposite than what it is to most. Instead of flipping out and placing it high on my list at first before moderating it after a few more listens, this album slowly crawled up to its position on the list. The more I listened to it, the more genius it became. At first I thought the sound quality was inferior to its two predecessors (Hail Wind and Hewn Oak, and Into the Archaic), but be that as it may, I've grown to like it the best of the three. It's far less folkish, and more black metal. That may account for the change in sound. Or it may be the producing/mixing, I'm not sure. Where on their previous releases there was a clear dividing line between aggression and melody, on this record the two are fused together. Whatever Falls of Rauros did differently, it worked. From the beginning of "Banished" to the end of "Silence," we hear the greatest display of emotional black metal written this year.

There are only six songs on this album, so I'm going to break this album down track by track:
1. Earth's Old Timid Grace (3:52) - You needn't even get to the black metal before Falls of Rauros' brilliant songwriting ability becomes transparent. This is the intro to the album. And it's not just some lame intro that has the same notes played over and over, maybe with a chant or something (the likes of which you might get from Ensiferum or Empyrium or Eluveitie). This intro continues to evolve throughout its duration. At 2:07 a lead guitar becomes noticeable, and from this point to the end of the song, Falls of Rauros demonstrate their masterful ability to intertwine melodies into a continuous flow.
2. Banished (10:46) - In the last seconds of "Earth's Old Time Grace" all that melody fell to a wall of black metal. This song begins with an aggressive riff that really makes a dramatic impression on the listener, especially considering it's the first black metal on the album. There's a great solo at 3:13. Close to the 5:30 mark the heavy sound collapses into soft melody and acoustic work (not unlike something you'd get from Opeth). But it builds. That's one thing this band never stops doing. With each variation in tempo or sound they never settle. They constantly build. The vocals are bleak and desolate. I absolutely love the drum beat that starts at 6:26. By the end of this song it's fairly apparent Falls of Rauros aren't nearly as folkish as they once were.
3. Awaiting the Fire or Flood That Awakes It (13:25) - This song opens with an acoustic intro that lasts for about the first 1:40. This is the longest track on the album. And it's probably the best structural piece of work on the album. This song shows that no matter what Falls of Rauros are doing at the time, they always give you something to grab onto. Such as the lead melody at 4:10 that plays a few times. Or the solo at 7:22. From the scream at 10:53 that marks the resurgence of black metal after a soft interlude, to the end of the song, is some of the most emotional material on the album. If you ever doubted Falls of Rauros' ability to construct complicated songs, this song should easily lay that misconception to rest.
4. Nonesuch River Chant (1:36) - The only song of little consequence on the album. It basically serves as a nice little single track interlude. I won't say it's a filler, because I don't think it is. It is, however, the only song on the album that features no real evolution.
5. Silence (9:38) - By the time this track rolls around it becomes obvious to me that this album is the smoothest of the year. The ability of this band to put so much into their music, so as to always keep the listener's attention, yet keep it flowing so smoothly, is really really really impressive. 7:22 marks my favorite part of this song, and one of my favorite parts on the album. It's just so damn emotional. The tone of this song is one of sorrow, and at the same time one of consolation. If you ever feel guilty of something, or feel guilty of acting a certain way, this track will humble you.
6. The Cormorants Shiver on Their Rocks (4:29) - The album's outro. Like the intro, it's acoustic. Listen to it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WahwxcrE16A. The previous track was one of sorrow, this one is one of grace. If you don't like it you don't have a soul.
All of these tracks, save Nonesuch River Chant, are highlights. The Light That Dwells in Rotten Wood wins best black metal album of 2011.


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#3 Loss - Despond

Pain is something dreaded by nearly every human being. We do all we can to avoid it and forget it and remove it from our lives. We do everything possible to exist without it, yet, ultimately, it's something humanity will never rid itself of. Loss' debut embodies the notion that, as Carl Jung would say, pain is ever present, and as much a part of life as the dance of shadow and light, and that it's something we hate, deny, and fear in ourselves. Loss has just chosen to deal with it and express it. To quote the band, "Life isn't worth living 99% of the time," and that's what Loss tries to convey with their music. And they've succeeded to an impressive extent. The despair this band projects is so authentic it's scary. It's the work of musicians who've truly been there. And it's this that makes it so genuine.

Doom metal has grown on me a lot this past year. A large percentage of albums on this list have been doom albums of some sort or another. But this one is truly exceptional. Despond is one of the most emotionally stirring albums of the year, and the only album even close to expressing such deep depression and misanthropy that burns its way to the heart of the psyche. Novembers Doom, Tombs, The Atlas Moth, etc., have all released doom albums hailed by many metal critics as the best of the year. None of those compare to this. In 2004 Loss released a demo, Life Without Hope...Death Without Reason, which spread fast and caused quite a buzz in the underground. Seven years later, Loss debuts their first album, Despond. Two of the tracks on this album are actually re-recordings of two of the tracks on the demo. These include "Conceptual Funeralism Unto the Final Act (of Being)," and "Cut Up, Depressed And Alone."

This album features ultra heavy bass and guitars, and sparse but steady drums. It's slow, it's melodic, it's tormented. The vocals are anguishing. "Silent and Completely Overcome" features guest vocalist Brett Campbell, from Pallbearer (who's set to release a debut in January), who provides the only clean vocals on the album, and man, they're fantastic. This track is my favorite on the album. "I do not remember depression such as this" will echo in your mind long after it's over. This song also features a brief intermittent section of black metal at 6:10 (when the tempo actually peaks above a crawl) before converting back to megadoom at 6:38, when a crushingly heavy and painfully slow riff finishes out the song. Loss doesn't only include elements of death into their doom, but black as well. The atmosphere throughout the whole thing is super intense.

There are piano-led interludes ("Despond"), which add to the gothic sound of the album. "The Irreparable Act" closes the album with clean guitars, synthesizers, and a monologue in a manner that, despite the lack of heaviness, is just as haunting and depressing as the rest of the album. There's strange eerie guitar work (such as what we hear at 0:35 in "An Ill Body Seats my Sinking Sight" and what we hear at 0:03 in "Silent and Completely Overcome"). One of the most impressive aspects of this album is the way each song is distinguishable. Each song is recognizable. You can tell one song from another. There's very little "meandering," which just isn't the case with 95% of funeral doom. Creating a funeral doom album that's a truly memorable complete body of work isn't an easy task. Loss has done it. This is the metal album of the year.
HIGHLIGHTS: "Open Veins to a Curtain Closed," "Cut up Depressed and Alone," "Conceptual Funeralism Unto The Final Act (Of Being) (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=El4pvfyibM4)," "Silent and Completely Overcome,"
"The Irreparable Act (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7QCzo-SmPbo)"

The band stated in an interview that they won't stop writing music until they've created the perfect funeral doom atmosphere. And they made it sound like this album is basically just a preliminary glimpse of what's to come. That aside, I have a hard time believing they'll ever top this record.


http://img528.imageshack.us/img528/6323/30460813341.jpg (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/528/30460813341.jpg/)
#2 *shels - Plains of the Purple Buffalo

It should be known that the last time my #1 and #2 albums of the year would've been post-rock records, had I been making these lists, was 2000. That would've been Godspeed You! Black Emperor's Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven and A Silver Mt. Zion's He Has Left Us Alone but Shafts of Light Sometimes Grace the Corner of Our Rooms… The first being a contender for the greatest album of all time and the second being a top 10 album of all time. My #1 and #2 this year aren't even close to that caliber, but they're absolutely excellent albums. I realize these top 2 won't be massively popular on this site, so I hope the ending to the list isn't too terribly anticlimactic.

Plains of the Purple Buffalo is a massive, mind-altering, journey that shows how far post-rock/metal can branch off if artists are willing to venture past the confines of the conventional second wave post-rock rut. This album isn't characterized or limited by a single formula. It's melodic, it's intense, it's beautiful, it's soft, it's heavy, it's aggressive, it's enthralling, and it succeeds brilliantly in painting a picture much like the album title and cover art suggest. I know you all are probably sick of the Alcest analogies, and not to juxtapose with Alcest, but the sound of this album gives the impression it was an "inspiration," much in the same sense Neige claimed Écailles De Lune was an inspiration he acquired after experiencing in a dream a vision of a world where music was ethereal and sounded nothing like the music of our world. But this album does give off some of that ethereal ambiance vibe we got with Écailles De Lune, but in a very different way. One way, of which I'm sure, is the brass. Beautiful brass segments are woven in amongst some of the tracks, as are choral arrangements, both of which result in brilliant atmospherics. One might call this record "easy listening." It's like the air conditioning inside your house that greets you after you've been out in the hundred degree heat all day. "Searching For Zihuatanejo," "Vision Quest," and "Butterflies on Lucy's Way," three of the best tracks on the album, are all just therapeutic. While that's true for a lot of this album, it's not true for all of it though. Some parts of this record are just downright difficult to listen to. One example being the opening track, "Journey to the Plains." Others being (parts of) "Crown of Eagle Feathers" and "Bastien's Angels." All are considerably heavy for post-rock songs.

Few records can remain captivating and stimulating for a complete 75 minutes. Every track here has something different to offer... something different than the track before it or after it. This album is a journey across a land very different than our own.
HIGHLIGHTS: "Plains of the Purple Buffalo - Part 2," "Searching For Zihuatanejo," "Vision Quest," "Butterflies on Lucy's Way," "The Spirit Horse (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cO79Nu4yVtA)"


http://img62.imageshack.us/img62/6254/rszsmj.png (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/62/rszsmj.png/)
#1 The Seven Mile Journey - Notes for the Synthesis

This is easily the best post-rock release since Sigur Rós' last album in 2008. It's as close to perfect post-rock as you'll get from any band not named Godspeed You! Black Emperor or A Silver Mt. Zion, and without a doubt, it's my favorite album of 2011. I can't say how many times I've listened to it. It's done more for me emotionally than any album in a long time. And part of that's due to the environments I listened to some of these songs in. Not only has this album been played more than any other album in 2011, it's been played during some of my most special moments of 2011.

Notes for the Synthesis pretty much covers the entire emotional spectrum except for joy and happiness. "Departures" starts off as a painfully depressing intro which evolves directly into "Alter Ego Autopsies," which is, from a musical standpoint, the most accomplished track on the album. It represents, over the course of twenty minutes, neurosis, psychosis, mental instability, and a mind that's trying to come to terms with its insanity. It's twenty minutes of structural magnificence, starting out as sounding like something horrific and extremely unsettling, before finally building into something a little more stable. It's just a giant of a song - right up there with some of the more powerful works of Godspeed You! Black Emperor (which I really don't say lightly). "Simplicity Has A Paradox" represents a juxtaposition of desolation and self-preservation. "Transits" might be the most poignant track on the album, which is a piano-led passage of introspection, nostalgia, and something we all fear at some point in our lives... "moving on." "The Etiology Diaries" is kind of an extension to "Transits," signifying the passage of time, reliance of the self, and fortitude. It's super impressive how seamlessly the songs fade into each other.

It should be noted that The Seven Mile Journey limits themselves instrumentally to bass, drums, guitars, and an occasional keyboard. That's an automatic red flag to me. It tells me, like any other record featuring these instruments would tell me, it has the potential to be great, but also a handicap in that it lacks that extra element that could push it over the edge. No horns, no violins, no strings, etc., means almost invariably an inability to compete with bands who've mastered the usage of these instruments with their music. This isn't the case with The Seven Mile Journey, which is a further testament to their artisanship. They don't need that extra element to distinguish themselves from other post-rock bands.

"Transits" -> "The Etiology Diaries" is the most powerful sequence on the album. It's difficult to explain in terms of technicality, but the way the songs move forward is just exceptionally impressive. It's so subtle at times, yet noticeable. At one point in "The Etiology Diaries" I feel like I'm completely unstable emotionally. Like I'm going to lose it. I think music that has an effect of this magnitude on the listener is truly something special.

Overall, this album paints a hauntingly beautiful picture. It's full of climaxes, build-ups, twists, colossal arrangements, juxtapositions, and different sounds that are layered perfectly to mesh together. I don't know how to better explain it. It's just a colossal piece of work. It manages to build suspense and momentum over very long periods of time. This band's career spans over a decade, and this is only the third album they've released. This makes one thing clear... they like to breathe. They aren't in it for the quick kill. And this definitely comes across in their sound. It's the product of a lot of time and a lot of patience. Popular post-rock releases of the year like 'Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will' by Mogwai and 'Take Care, Take Care, Take Care' by Explosions in the Sky are pale in comparison to this masterpiece. Any fan of post-rock who hasn't heard this is missing out not only on the best of 2011, but one of the genre's best ever.
HIGHLIGHTS: "The Alter Ego Autopsies," "Simplicity Has a Paradox," "Transits," "The Etiology Diaries (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XpGwTOI4UjI)"

idrinkwine732
12-26-2011, 07:28 PM
I haven't listened to your number 4, I'll take a gander and start my thread tomorrow.

A killer top 5. All incredible albums.

DethMaiden
12-26-2011, 07:35 PM
Best year-end list on here. I have some homework. :horns:

larvtard
12-26-2011, 07:40 PM
I don't have the attention span to read those long descriptions :eyes:

Also, I think you and my younger brother would get along. His list:


1. Cormorant - Dwellings

2. Fall of Rauros - The Light That Dwells in Rotten Wood

3. Rwake - Rest

4. Morne - Asylum

5. Subrosa - No Help for the Mighty Ones

6. Blood Ceremony - Living with the Ancients

7. Craft - Void

8. The Gates of Slumber - The Wretch

9. Terra Tenebrosa - The Tunnels

10. Atriarch - Forever the End

11. Feral - Dragged to the Altar

12. KEN Mode - Venerable

13. Light Bearer - Lapsus

14. Trap Them - Darker Handcraft

15. Solstafir - Svartir Sandar

idrinkwine732
12-26-2011, 07:43 PM
I don't have the attention span to read those long descriptions :eyes:

Also, I think you and my younger brother would get along. His list:


1. Cormorant - Dwellings

...son?

hb420
12-26-2011, 10:57 PM
Awesome finish to the list man. :party: Great picks all around, especially #4 that's a sleeper more people need to hear.

slapguitarer
12-26-2011, 11:17 PM
Solid Top 5! 3 make an appearance on my list, one in the Top 10. :rocker:

hellawaits77ny
12-26-2011, 11:36 PM
A Carl Jung reference at Metalsetlists.com. Awesome

illuminatus917
12-27-2011, 02:02 PM
Solid Top 5! 3 make an appearance on my list, one in the Top 10. :rocker:

I have a feeling I know exactly which ones they are, too. :)


Also, I think you and my younger brother would get along. His list:


1. Cormorant - Dwellings

2. Fall of Rauros - The Light That Dwells in Rotten Wood

3. Rwake - Rest

4. Morne - Asylum

5. Subrosa - No Help for the Mighty Ones

6. Blood Ceremony - Living with the Ancients

7. Craft - Void

8. The Gates of Slumber - The Wretch

9. Terra Tenebrosa - The Tunnels

10. Atriarch - Forever the End

11. Feral - Dragged to the Altar

12. KEN Mode - Venerable

13. Light Bearer - Lapsus

14. Trap Them - Darker Handcraft

15. Solstafir - Svartir Sandar

Why doesn't he post here?


A killer top 5. All incredible albums.

I'd be extremely surprised if you didn't like the new Falls of Rauros. Also, I remember earlier in the year you said you were underwhelmed by No Help For the Mighty Ones. I'm guessing/hoping that's changed?

Looking forward to your list so I can see how many great albums I missed this past year.

illuminatus917
12-27-2011, 02:04 PM
Also, my sincerest thanks to all those who read and kept up with my list. :fist:

You guys are awesome.

Natrlhi
12-27-2011, 06:24 PM
It should be noted that The Seven Mile Journey limits themselves instrumentally to bass, drums, guitars, and an occasional keyboard. That's an automatic red flag to me. It tells me, like any other record featuring these instruments would tell me, it has the potential to be great, but also a handicap in that it lacks that extra element that could push it over the edge. No horns, no violins, no strings, etc., means almost invariably an inability to compete with bands who've mastered the usage of these instruments with their music. This isn't the case with The Seven Mile Journey, which is a further testament to their artisanship. They don't need that extra element to distinguish themselves from other post-rock bands.I'm confused. There are some pretty obvious string parts on this album. It's one of the things I really liked, and which I thought set this album apart from many others in the genre. My only complaint is that it gets a bit repetitive at times (but that's usually when the songs are building momentum, so it's somewhat forgivable).

Anyway, very solid top five. Several of these are going to rank very highly on my list as well. :rocker:

illuminatus917
12-27-2011, 08:21 PM
I'm confused. There are some pretty obvious string parts on this album. It's one of the things I really liked, and which I thought set this album apart from many others in the genre. My only complaint is that it gets a bit repetitive at times (but that's usually when the songs are building momentum, so it's somewhat forgivable).

Anyway, very solid top five. Several of these are going to rank very highly on my list as well. :rocker:

Yeah, you're right. Violins aren't overly predominant throughout the album though. That is, not a paramount characteristic. What I really want to know is why I didn't mention piano. Some of the songs are actually piano-led. It's one of the most important instruments on the album. I really don't know what I was thinking when I wrote that :lol:. Consider it a moot point I guess.

It's because I keep comparing these bands in my mind to ASMZ and GY!BE, which is frankly ridiculous. They're responsible for my pre-conceptualized ideas of how strings are/should be integral parts of post-rock. And if bands don't meet those standards it doesn't register with me.

NecroRob
12-27-2011, 08:31 PM
Great list, I had a good time reading through your reviews and I discovered a few albums I would have never listened to otherwise :D

larvtard
12-28-2011, 09:33 AM
Why doesn't he post here?


Lol, I've asked him a few times before, he always jokingly says that people here have shitty taste.

Natrlhi
12-28-2011, 02:44 PM
What I really want to know is why I didn't mention piano. Some of the songs are actually piano-led. It's one of the most important instruments on the album. I really don't know what I was thinking when I wrote that :lol::lol: Yeah, I was going to mention the piano as well, but since I wasn't really trying to bust your chops too much to begin with, I gave you the benefit of the doubt and included piano as part of the "keyboards" category, which you did mention in the original post. :lol: I agree with your assessment that the piano parts are featured rather prominently - they contribute to a mounting sense of dread or despair that I find very compelling in the parts of the songs where they're featured. Very solid album, this. No doubt about it. Thanks for bringing it to my attention a while back. :fist:

illuminatus917
12-29-2011, 11:03 PM
Very solid album, this. No doubt about it. Thanks for bringing it to my attention a while back. :fist:

I think that's about as satisfying as a comment can be. :horns: :fist:

It means a great deal to me that some of the folks here have gained from my doing this. It's nice to have reason to reevaluate the initial "why the fuck am I doing this, again?" disposition.

Thanks man.