View Full Version : Rocco's Best of 2011

01-01-2012, 01:38 PM
Finally going to start this after much procrastination. I have about 60 or so metal related albums I have enjoyed this year but there are still have many that I didn't have time to check out in 2011 that I will be checking out in 2012. I'll start by listing those that I regrettably ran out of time to listen to properly.

Orchid, Blut Aus Nord, Azarath, Forefather, Hammers of Misfortune, Solstafir, Wolvhammer, Vallenfyre, Arch-Matheos, Revocation, Vektor, In Flames (although not really regrettably haha), A Storm of Light, Hate Eternal, Disma, Krallice, Anaal Nathrakh, Obscura, Aosoth, Fen, Earth, Tenhi, Ravencult, Giant Squid, Absu, Esoteric, Aeneon, Ash Borer, 3 etc

More to come soon...

01-01-2012, 01:48 PM
Disma, Krallice, Anaal Nathrakh, Obscura, Giant Squid, AbsuUnfortunate.

Also, inb4 Russian Circles ;)

01-01-2012, 04:02 PM

Also, inb4 Russian Circles ;)

Don't you have (several) something(s) to be doing? :hmm:

01-01-2012, 04:03 PM
looking forward to this.

01-01-2012, 05:19 PM
Don't you have (several) something(s) to be doing? :hmm:I am! I'm listening while I'm posting. :D

The write-up part will go quickly, I'm sure. You should have a belated present from The Nat in your stocking when you wake up in the morning. :D

01-03-2012, 01:49 AM
I also forgot to note that I'm am not a very strong writer, especially compared to many of you guys, so I'll keep my write-ups short and sweet for the most part.

Top EPs

Between The Buried And Me - The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues

Composed of three tracks of about 10 minutes in length, this EP contains more of the same progressive metalcore with Dream Theater wank and the usual crazy antics. I've enjoyed their post Silent Circus material to an extent and this is no different. Not their best songwriting, which I still feel is too schizophrenic, but enjoyable music from a supremely talented band nonetheless.

Ancestors - Invisible White

This fantastic little release was one of my most pleasant surprises of 2011. I had enjoyed their previous releases, Neptune With Fire and Of Sound Mind, but the new direction of Invisible White has me excited about the band's future. The music lacks the riffage of their previous work, but instead relies on a relaxed, uplifting atmosphere. Strong harmonized clean vocals, sprawling guitar work, and well utilized piano/organ works in harmony to create a collection of songs that make me want to lay in a sunny field and just let the music take me to another world.

The final track, "Epilogue", especially the final 5 minutes containing a fantastic guitar solo is clearly the highlight.

01-07-2012, 10:48 PM
I'll try and speed this up, I've been so busy lately.

I primarily listen to metal related material, but I do listen to a good amount of music outside the realm of heavy as well. Here are a few I've enjoyed this year.

7. Hugh Laurie - Let Them Talk

I'm not an expert on the blues but as far as I can tell this is a solid representation of the genre. Hugh Laurie, of House fame, is the primary performer and sings in addition to playing piano. Most of the songs are traditional blues and are skillfully and authentically executed. Laurie isn't the strongest singer but he sings from the heart and his genuine love for the blues is quite clear.

6. *shels - Plains of the Purple Buffalo

Uplifting post rock with great vocal melodies. Beautiful record that really takes you to another world. Could have gone with my metal list as well but I decided to leave it here.

01-12-2012, 12:01 AM
5. Cloudkicker - Let Yourself Be Huge

I was a bit disappointed with this album (or EP i guess) upon my first few listens. I was probably hoping it would be a continuation of the metallic/djent post rock genius of Beacons, but Cloudkicker mastermind Ben Sharp had other ideas. Most of the heaviness is gone but his great melodic sensibility is not. The result is a collection of very relaxed, uplifting acoustic and clean post rock songs. I like that he's evolving as a songwriter and leaving his Meshuggah worship in the past. Hopefully his next album continues his musical evolution without completely forgetting his talent for writing amazing riffs.

4. Defeater - Empty Days And Sleepless Nights

I'm not an expert on the hardcore genre, but they are easily my favorite hardcore band. I usually don't pay much attention to lyrics in music but they are some of the best I've heard and are delivered with such emotion and conviction by front-man Derek Archambault. The rest of the band doesn't take a back seat either, with some of the best catchy, melodic guitar riffs I've heard in the genre and solid drumming. The simple guitar melody, cathartic vocals and urgent drumming on "White Oak Doors" creates one of the most gut wrenching, intense musical moments I've heard in any genre. The band then ends the album with four attempts at some acoustic storytelling and not surprisingly they succeed at that as well. I can't wait to hear what these guys come up with next.

01-12-2012, 06:33 AM
5. Cloudkicker - Let Yourself Be Huge

I was a bit disappointed with this album (or EP i guess) upon my first few listens. I was probably hoping it would be a continuation of the metallic/djent post rock genius of Beacons, but Cloudkicker mastermind Ben Sharp had other ideas. Most of the heaviness is gone but his great melodic sensibility is not. The result is a collection of very relaxed, uplifting acoustic and clean post rock songs. I like that he's evolving as a songwriter and leaving his Meshuggah worship in the past. Hopefully his next album continues his musical evolution without completely forgetting his talent for writing amazing riffs.I couldn't agree more. :fist:

01-13-2012, 09:19 PM
I couldn't agree more. :fist:


Top 3 coming up

01-13-2012, 11:36 PM
3. City & Colour - Little Hell

For my money, Dallas Green is one of the best vocalists out there. The best way I can describe his voice is that it's just pure. And while his singing was incredible on his first two records, his songwriting wasn't nearly as strong and was really hit or miss. On Little Hell, his growth as a song writer really shows and results in his most balanced release to date. In addition to the improved songwriting, the addition of a full backing band really lets the songs breathe without drowning out the vocals. Melancholic, dark, beautiful and his finest album to date.

2. Steven Wilson - Grace For Drowning

Steven Wilson seems to be one of the most busy people in music. When I first heard about his forthcoming solo record I was giddy, even though his previous album, Insurgentes, had fallen flat for me save a couple standout tracks.

No doubt his most ambitious release yet, Grace For Drowning is well over an hour long, and split into two volumes. Wilson recruited many prolific musicians for this record including Jordan Rudess of Dream Theater, a host of jazz musicians, a London orchestra, and a choir. This results in a diverse array of songs from the classic Wilson melancholy of "Postcard", to the dark, fucked up madness of "Remainder of the Black Dog". Despite there being very little distorted guitar, the album is not lacking heaviness at all. Heavy sax grooves and flute solos are aplenty in the 23 minute prog opus "Raider II" which is probably the standout of the album. In addition, "Deform To Form A Star" might be the most beautiful song Steven has ever written which is saying a lot. Such an amazing work that takes me on an epic musical journey every time I listen to it. A modern prog classic in my eyes.

1. Bon Iver - Bon Iver, Bon Iver

Having loved the debut For Emma, Forever Ago, this album was one of my most anticipated of the year. Vocalist Justin Vernon, much like Dallas Green, decided to put his stripped down folk style to the side in favor of a fuller sound courtesy of a new band. His instantly recognizable layered falsetto is still prevalent, and sounds fantastic as always. The new band, including a saxophonist, horn players, steel guitar, etc along with Vernon's incredible voice result in some of the most lush sonic landscapes I have ever heard. This album takes me away to an otherworldly place of beauty and fills my heart with joy like no other piece of music this year. And yes I realize that last sentence sounds a little cheesy but I don't care haha

Epidemic Reign
01-13-2012, 11:41 PM

01-13-2012, 11:45 PM
If Brad was still here he would be proud.

Epidemic Reign
01-13-2012, 11:52 PM
If Brad was still here he would be proud.

Exactly what I was thinking :lol:

I almost accused Rocco of being the new Brad until I realized this wasn't his canon list :D

01-14-2012, 12:47 AM
What was your favorite TV show finale of the year, Rocco? ;)

01-14-2012, 12:51 AM
What was your favorite TV show finale of the year, Rocco? ;)

Sometimes you don't make sense. :confused:

Epidemic Reign
01-14-2012, 12:57 AM
Walking Dead midseason finale > everything

01-14-2012, 10:20 AM
Haha, I'm saving the best for last
What was your favorite TV show finale of the year, Rocco? ;)
Walking Dead midseason finale > everything

01-15-2012, 09:56 AM
Ok, now for the main event. The order isn't perfect because it was driving me crazy trying to compare such a wide variety of albums. So keep in mind that there isn't too much of a difference from #35 and #55.

58. Protest The Hero - Scurrilous

I was expecting to like this album a lot more than I did especially since it clicked with a bunch of people who said they weren't a fan before this album. Part of the problem is that I'm not the biggest fan of Roddy's clean vocals and they get really old after a while. The riffs and musicianship are amazing as usual but not memorable enough for me.

57. Devin Townsend Project - Deconstruction

This one will probably get me a lot of shit as well. I think you either get Devy's music or you don't and I guess I don't. That being said, I do enjoy a good amount of his material including Addicted so I was looking forward to this album so this placement on my list shows my disappointment. Way too over the top and circus like for my taste. I guess I like my music to be serious for the most part, so the fart noises and gimmicks turn me off. The guest appearances were also to blame for my high hopes and some of the best vocalists out there were barely noticeable upon first listen. That said, there is some solid material in here and its obvious that Devin is some sort of musical genius but I just don't "get" this one.

56. Unearth - Darkness In The Light

There was a time in my life when I worshiped these guys but I guess I'm just not into melodic metalcore like I used to be. The Maiden riffs are still there, Trevor's vocals snarled vocals as well, they just don't seem to have the same energy that they used to. There are still some great solos, groove laden riffs, cool breakdowns for longtime fans of Unearth, but I'm still reaching for The Oncoming Storm when I need my fix.

01-22-2012, 09:50 PM
55. Darkest Hour - The Human Romance

I've been a fan of these guys for most of my metal years, and they are still churning out quality metal. Even though not too excited about this style of music anymore, I still enjoy their brand of thrashy, melodic death.

54. Old Silver Key - Tales of Wanderings

On paper I should love this album. Members of Drudkh and Neige on vocals definitely had my interest but this fell way short of my expectations. It's basically what you think it would sound like, shogazy post rock with clean vocals, but really watered down. Not a bad release but pretty pointless with all the amazing material from the member's other bands.

53. Crowbar - Sever The Wicked Hand

Another heavy slab of doomy sludge from Windstein and company. Some really good songs on this album, but a bit too much filler for it to be higher on my list.

01-23-2012, 02:41 PM
Unfortunate you didn't enjoy Scurrilous as much as the rest of us (us being people who did).

01-28-2012, 02:49 AM
Yeah I know this is taking forever, but I'm going to try and quicken the pace to get this finished. At least I'm not as bad as someone we know and love haha
52. Mastodon - The Hunter

Loved the prog epic, Crack The Skye, but I was glad when I heard that this album was a bit more stripped down and ballsier. Unfortunately it just doesn't hold up in comparison to Remission and Leviathan. Musicianship is still great but the vocals are still borderline bad and the more pop oriented songs are just not my thing.

51. Argus - Boldly Stride The Doomed

All the ingredients for a fantastic heavy metal/doom album are here. Great lead vocals courtesy of Butch Balich (ex Penance), galloping riffs, soulful lead guitar work, but for some reason these guys never quite click with me like I think they should. Still some high quality vintage heavy metal.

http://hangout.altsounds.com/altthumb.php?src=http%3A%2F%2Fhangout.altsounds.co m%2Fgeek%2Fgars%2Fimages%2F3%2F9%2F8%2F5%2Faugust. jpg&h=356&w=595&zc=1&q=90
50. August Burns Red - Leveler

Metalcore is not my genre of choice anymore, but these guys are probably my favorite. Jake's vocals are still spot on and varied enough to avoid becoming boring. You can definitely feel the emotion and conviction with the lyrics. The breakdowns and melodic riffs are still aplenty, but the band is still progressing with occasional clean vocals and clean guitar sections.

02-04-2012, 09:55 PM
49. Opeth - Heritage

Probably my biggest disappointment of the year. Even though I was worried about the album being void of heaviness, I still had faith in Mikael creating a full on prog album worthy of his previous discography. Unfortunately I found Heritage to be meandering, with little substance to speak of. I like bits and pieces of this record especially the closing of "Folklore" but as a complete it album it falls flat for me. Mikael is one of my favorite vocalist of all time but his all clean singing performance is quite dull and pitchy in many songs. I'm still an Opeth fanboy, but I'm concerned about the future material and hope that the death metal side is not fully dead.

48. Dornenreich - Flammentriebe

This was one of the early albums of the year that I remember getting some hype and the cover art was intriguing so I gave it a shot. The band plays melodic leaning blackened folk, and they do it quite well. The use of strings adds some great melodies without being cheesy. The whole albums is very enjoyable but the obvious highlight for me is the closing song "Erst Deine Trδne Lφscht Den Brand". The song begins with simple acoustic strumming and emotive strings which build up to silence, some cool sounding spoken word, and closes in a stunning guitar tapping section. One of the better songs of the year.

47. Burzum - Fallen

More of the same melodic black metal from good ole Varg Vikernes. Slightly underproduced, tremelo picked black metal, with some folky clean vocals that actually sound pretty good. Nothing revolutionary but Varg still writes some good fucking riffs and I look forward to his next one.

02-12-2012, 08:00 PM
46. Trap Them - Darker Handcraft

Whenever I'm in the mood to be smashed in the face with hammer repeatedly, this album is a good choice to accomplish just that. Trap Them play furious d-beat, hardcore laden metal with the occasional splash of grindcore. Kurt Ballou's production is great as usual and the familiar swedish death metal guitar tone is delicious. The riffs are a bit catchier than those on Seizures in Barren Praise but they are not close to selling out or anything. This album is nothing new but goddamn does it hit the spot when I'm looking for some pissed off, metally, hardcore punk.

45. Unexpect - Fables of the Sleepless Empire

This album is fucking madness. The aptly named 6 piece from Canada, Unexpect, are truly avant garde and play chaotic metal along with electronic, classical, jazz and many other influences. The musicianship, from the drumming, to the 9 string bass (I did'nt even know that existed), is flawless. I wonder if they could possibly pull this material off in a live setting. Operatic female vocals sort of hold it all together and add a catchiness to the songs. Very unique piece of music and if I can ever fully wrap my head around with what is going on this album could easily jump into my top 20.

44. Ulcerate - The Destroyers of All

For whatever reason recently, death metal has become one of my least listened to genres. That being said, of the few death metal albums I listened to last year, Ulcerate really stood out. The combination of the dirty guitar tone and dissonant cacophony of riffs give this record a dark and quite evil sound. The atmosphere that results is unique among most death metal. Dense as this album is, the band does use occasional post metal elements to give the songs some dynamics. The vocals are good, typical gutterals, but the drumming really stands out. I'm no musician, but this drumming performance is probably the best I've heard all year. Very original sounding music in a genre where that is a rare thing.

03-28-2012, 11:29 PM
Fuck, I completely forgot about this. I'm worse than Nat and he has way more important things to do in his life which I don't haha. And he actually writes reviews. Anyways not that anyone cares but I'll finally finish this thing.

43. Vreid - V

Following up the excellent Milorg was no easy task, but Vreid did not disappoint with this one. Thrashy black metal, with a good dose of prog and rock n roll is how I'd describe it.

42. Sylosis - Edge of the Earth

No sophomore slump for this talented young band. The new vocalist is not anything to get excited about but he does the job with competent growls and the occasional clean. The obvious reason to listen to these guys are the thrashy, groovy, melodic guitar work that this band has a plethora of. Unfortunately the album is a bit too long, but in smaller doses this thing definitely delivers the riffs.

09-11-2012, 05:04 AM

I can't believe I'm actually in a position to finish my list before someone else finishes theirs. :eyes: ;)

09-11-2012, 06:45 PM
Haha holy shit I completely forgot about this. I'll probably just find my list and post the rest.

11-04-2012, 08:18 PM
There's the end of this thread of fail. I couldn't find my finalized list so the numbers don't match but whatever haha

1. 40 Watt Sun – The Inside Room
2. YOB – Atma
3. Scale The Summit – The Collective
4. Rwake – Rest
5. Lightbearer – Lapsus
6. Elder – Dead Roots Stirring
7. Graveyard - Hisingen Blues
8. The Atlas Moth – An Ache For Distance
9. Premonition 13 – 13
10. Russian Circles - Empros
11. Subrosa – No Help For The Mighty Ones
12. Primordial – Redemption At The Puritans Hand
13. Defeater – Empty Days & Sleepless Nights
14. Loss – Despond
15. Black Cobra – Invernal
16. Mournful Congregation – Book Of Kings
17. Tombs – Path of Totality
18. Animals As Leaders – Weightless
19. All Pigs Must Die – God Is War
20. Moonsorrow
21. Fair to Midland – Arrows & Anchors
22. Deafheaven – Roads To Judah
23. Batillus – Furnace
24. Cormorant – Dwellings
25. Witch Mountain – South of Salem
26. Wolves In The Throne Room – Celestial Lineage
27. Times Of Grace – The Hymn of A Broken Man
28. Liturgy – Aesthethica
29. Evergrey – Glorious Burden
30. Symphony X – Iconoclast
31. Amon Amarth – Surtur Rising
32. Insomnium – One For Sorrow
33. Omnium Gatherum - New World Shadows
34. Falloch – Where Distant Spirits Remain
35. Petrychor – Effigies & Epitaphs
36. Ghost Brigade – Until Fear No Longer Defines Us
37. Novembers Doom – Aphotic
38. Unexpect - Fables of The Sleepless Empire
39. While Heaven Wept – Fear Of Infinity