20. God Is An Astronaut - God Is An Astronaut
If you’ve heard anything else by GIAA, then you know what to expect from this album—not that that’s necessarily a bad thing. Spacey instrumental post-rock, sometimes high-energy, sometimes moody and introspective. This album sees a bit more of the high-energy side of the spectrum, but I just don’t think it quite lives up to their past two full-lengths, which managed to convey so much emotion while rocking so hard.
19. Genghis Tron - Board Up the House
I found this interesting for a couple of listens, but after that it started to get old. Still, this is a fairly imaginative, refreshing album.
18. Virus - The Black Flux
Avant-garde rock/metal consisting of mostly dark, disturbing (dare I say “virulent”?) semitonal guitar work a la Deathspell Omega and bizarre, almost trance-like clean vocals. Really quite good. It’s like the avant-rock cousin of Deathspell’s last album, Fas
. My only complaint is that, at 53 minutes in length, it does get to be a bit taxing.
17. Moss - Sub Templum
A monolithic, primordial slab of twisted, excellent drone-doom. Owes something to Sunn O))), but I’d probably sooner listen to Moss than to that band.
16. Wold - Stratification
Black metal/noise crossover done right. This album is like the coldest, bitterest ice storm imaginable. Terrifying yet beautiful.
15. Leviathan - Massive Conspiracy Against All Life
Dark, depressive, bizarre, terrifying—all things one would expect from a Leviathan album. Definitely measures up to his previous two releases, and may even exceed them. Loses some of its punch on repeated listens, but still recommended.
14. Nachtmystium - Assassins: Black Meddle Part 1
Quite a good album, but it could definitely be better. As the title suggests, this album is heavily indebted to Pink Floyd. It starts off strong, opening with “One of These Nights”, a dark, minor-chord parody of “One of These Days” by PF which borders on hilarity, suddenly jumping into “Assassins”, a headbanging, rousing black metal anthem (since when do black metal bands write rousing anthems!?), followed by “Ghosts of Grace”, another excellent high-energy track which also shows signs of rock influence. “Away From the Light” is an interlude which doesn’t feel especially necessary, and it leads into “Your True Enemy”, a revenge song in which not much seems to happen (besides a good riff or two). “Code Negative” is decent, but the album still seems to be in a lull at this point. Things pick up again once we hit “Omnivore”, a searing black metal track with some trippy electronic noodling. The last song, “Seasick”, which comprises three tracks, sounds a bit too much like they were simply trying to imitate Pink Floyd (right down to the saxophone solo), but it’s good for what it is. Definitely recommended, but approach with caution.
13. Roma Amor - Roma Amor
A rare little gem of an album I stumbled across while reading a blog partially dedicated to Neofolk. The band describes this stuff as “neo-cabaret”; it mostly consists of acoustic guitar, accordion, and female vocals—some in Italian, some in English, some in French. Beautiful music, at times brooding, at times touching, at other times tragically comic.
12. Sigur Rós - Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust
The opening track “Gobbledigook” heralds this album as an energetic, upbeat departure from Sigur Ros’ sprawling shoegaze soundscapes, and this promise is fulfilled by most of the rest of the album, but there are definitely tracks that sound like the same old Sigur Ros (which isn’t such a bad thing). Huge emotions, orchestral swells, timid vocals—it’s all there. Definitely worth checking out.
11. Nas - Untitled
Excellent album with serious evocative power. At times it’s a bit alienating (“Testify” specifically calls out white fans and downloaders… oh hey that’s me), but Nas’ message is definitely valid and pertinent to modern America. Extremely catchy stuff, and Nas’ flow is still razor-sharp, save for a few awkward rhymes here and there.
...10-1 may have some surprises