Finally got around to finishing up my list, so here are the top ten albums.
Album: Diamond Eyes
Label: Reprise Records
Genre: Alternative Metal
The same friend that recommended I listen to As I Lay Dying's new album told me to listen to Diamond Eyes
. I had tried to get into Deftones before, but failed every time. One my first listen I didn't really like Diamond Eyes
, but it grew on me. Some songs are uncompromisingly heavy, while others are very calm and smooth. Chino Moreno pulls off both the harsh and clean vocals perfectly, and helps to emphasis certain aspects of their music, such as the "beautiful yet violent imagery" in "Rocket Skates" according to Chino himself. Many fans and critics will agree this is some of their best material yet, or at least since White Pony. With so many beautiful and energetic songs packed into one album, Diamond Eyes
will take you outside your mind and into a fantasy-like world full of positive imagery, reflecting on the recent tragedy the band has suffered and triumphed through.
Artist: Rotting Christ
Label: Season of Mist Records
Genre: Melodic Black Metal / Folk Metal
Over the years Rotting Christ has evolved and integrated a number of genres into their music. Most recently they have decided to implement traditional Greek folk music. The last album showed hints of folk elements and Aealo
has steered much more in that direction; the outcome is like nothing else currently out there. I admit that at first I did not like the album much, because it was so different, but after listening to it a few times over the months I began to understand what they had created. There are still melodic sections in the songs and of course the black metal vocal style is still prominent, but it all melds together with the folk influences. I’ve become much more appreciative of this album since I first listened to it and I now see it as an important piece in the band’s history. Since their inception, Rotting Christ has managed to keep it interesting by consistently changing things up and Aealo
supports that in every way.
Genre: Downtempo / Ambient
A little more than a year after their last album, Röyksopp is back with another. On their website, Svein and Torbjørn mentioned this album would be much different than their last, which had great emphasis on their pop influences. Senior
was to focus on the ambient, chillout style of their first album, but with an even more stripped down and introverted feel to it; they achieved just that. The album received mixed responses from their fan base, with most of the negative comments coming from those who only enjoyed their pop style. Senior
takes you on a journey through Norway, where we visit the lives of people and see their desolation and despair. For me the album is not just music, it’s an experience in itself.
Album: Starve for the Devil
Label: Nuclear Blast Records
Genre: Melodic Death Metal
This year Arsis has made a great comeback with their release, Starve for the Devil
. I felt that We Are the Nightmare
was incredibly mediocre, so I was happily surprised when I listened to this album. I admit, it cannot touch their early work, but this is still a magnificent CD. This album feels more focused on writing songs rather than solos. There is more substance to be found here, instead of just mind blowing guitar wankery. It seems that James Malone has learned to restrain himself, yet still write catchy melodies and solos that will pull in the listener. This is exactly what I was looking for. While I do enjoy music with a plethora of technicality sometimes, I would much rather listen to something that flows together seamlessly.
Label: Season of Mist Records
Genre: Technical Death Metal
It seemed like a lot of people had their expectations set too high for this album, but I was still impressed by it to a great extent. Atheist had been absent from the metal scene for quite some time, so I expected them to release something that would have a modern twist to their old style. That is exactly what they did with Jupiter
. I figure most people were expecting Unquestionable Presence
part II, hence their disappointment. Jupiter
is heavier and has much more straightforward songs. While there is still a great level of technicality in each song, they do not focus so much on sporadic changes. Kelly also tries some interesting vocal melodies – some work quite well, others not as much. I do love this album, but there is one thing that bothers me about it: the production. It lacks depth and the drums dominate the mix. The bass is noticeable, but not nearly as much as it should be for an Atheist album. Despite my gripes, the album takes this slot because the spectacular songs are more than enough to overshadow the mediocre production.