Here it is, part 5 and last part of the first half of the year. 26 albums and EPs here. This is along one so let's get it started.
1.) Hell- Human Remains
Ok, so already by the band name and album title it instantly makes you think of Brutal Death Metal. NOT AT ALL! This is 80's New Wave Of British Heavy Metal brought back to life. Although forming in 1982, Human Remains is the first album from the band. The band broke up in 1987 and shortly after singer, Dave G. Halliday, committed suicide. In 2010 The band got back together and started working on what became Human Remains. The music is very NWOBHM in the best way possible. THIS is the music that needs to come back. As much as I love the New Thrash Revival going on right now, it takes a band like Hell to really showcase the music that needs a return. Hell did it right on this album. It is 80's Metal perfection that was released in 2011. BRAVO!
2.) Scar Symmetry- The Unseen Empire
You can basically take my review for Darkest Hour's The Human Romance, and replace it with Scar Symmetry. I never thought I'd be into these guys again, but I was sooooooo proven wrong with The Unseen Empire. This is a damn good album from start to finish. I guess it took an album and losing their best feature of the band (The vocals) for them to get back on the right track. But it worked. I just hope they can keep this quality of songwriting up.
3.) Neal Morse- Testimony 2
I constantly say this. I listen to as much Christian Progressive Rock as I do Satanic Death Metal. It's about good music, not the lyrical message to me. Music is not going to make me follow god, or burn churches in the name of Satan, I walk the path I walk, But anyways back to the music. Testimony 2, is obviously the sequel to Neal Morse's Testimony. The music is very good. It's a great concept album. But like every Neal Morse album, the message and storyline is practically the same. Not that that's a bad thing. AC/DC and Slayer have been doing that for years. But it would be nice to write different concept albums about the message. the musicality is always great, very Spock's Beard style Progressive Rock, which I love. The bonus track Seeds Of Gold Is one of the coolest pieces of Music I've heard (at 25 minutes of length as well). Overall, it's worth checking out for the music alone if you are into Prog Rock and if you don't mind the message. It's worth checking out.
4.) Anaal Nathrakh- Passion
What an album to come up on random after Testimony 2. The exact opposite of Neal Morse. Absolutely insane Technical and Brutal Death Metal, with oddly enough a lot of clean vocals. The music is spastic as all hell, but very enjoyable. I can tell it takes a strong breed of people to be able to handle Anaal Nathrakh's music. But if you can it is a Death Metal musical journey.
5.) EkoTren- The Dead Of Night
EkoTren is a hard band to pinpoint. I guess Alternative Metal is a good reference? They have a very cool sense of having brutal verses with very melodic Choruses. Yes that might sound like Metalcore, but there is more substance to it then just simply Metalcore. Compared to their debut album, The Dead Of Night is a bit more Hard Rock influenced as well. Overall it is a very catchy enjoyable, heavy album. Well worth a listen.
6.) Belphegor- Blood Magik Necromance
Belphegor is a Blackened Death Metal band that is just plain BRUTAL! Every song is just as chaotic, symphonic and evil as the last. I still believe Behemoth is the best band in all of Blackened Death Metal, Belphegor is definitely in the top 3. They aren't exactly a band I'd normally listen to on normal occasions, but this album is one that works perfect when you need something to release your aggression on. It will also hold purpose until Behemoth gets ready to take over the world once again later this fall.
7.) This Will Destroy You- Tunnel Blanket
BOOOOORING! I'm sorry, just like Explosions in The Sky earlier, nothing really happens in this album. Over 3/4 of the album is keyboard synth soundscapes. When the rest of the band kicks in it only adds a little bit of excitement until it goes away again. I don't get it Post ROck/Post Metal Bands can do it right, Doom Metal bands can do it right, but when add the two together, you get the new album from This Will Destroy You, which you think would be amazing if your fan of either genre. But it way to heavy on soundscape and not enough on creating an enjoyable album. Much to my dismay. I think they are capable of writing good music, I hope they will again on their next album, more then just 3 tracks.
8.) Obscura- Omnvium
Simply put the best damn Progressive/Technical Death Metal album of 2011. I will be hard pressed to find anything that will come close. Obscura has been getting more and more proggy on every album and Omnvium is the perfect mixture for me. Every song is perfection to me, and I can't wait to see them open for Devin Townsend July 5th. Buy this album the second you get a chance. This is what Progressive/Technical Death Metal is suppose to sound like!
9.) Pagan's Mind- Heavenly Ecstasy
Pagan's Mind, the best sounding Dream Theater band that is nothing like Dream Theater band around. Pagan's Mind is the band a lot of hardcore DT wishes Dream Theater sounded like after Awake. Dream Theater is my favorite band of all time, but it very hard to disagree. The add a great blend of Progressive Metal, Power Metal, and Classic Rock. For those who think there is something missing in Progressive Metal, needs to check out Pagan's Mind. Such a great showcase of songwriting and overall musical power.
10.) Cave In- White Silence
Post Hardcore heroes Cave In are back together and are back to being Metal. I had no idea Cave In got back together until I heard this album was released. I immediately got it and spun it. It is such a fantastic album from start to finish. Post Hardcore, Metalcore and Post Rock all mixed together into the band known as Cave In. These guys were desperately needed to come back into music. If they had never broken up, I swear a lot of crap music out there wouldn't be here. For those adventurous enough to give REAL Post Hardcore a chance, check out Cave In's White Silence. it is so damn good.
11.) Angel Vivaldi- Universal Language
The best instrumental Progressive/Djent Metal band this side of Animals As Leaders. This solo project now features ex Mutiny Within drummer, Bill Fore, who absolutely Slays on this 4 track EP. like the two bands I just mentioned, the music is a mixture of Animals As Leaders and Mutiny Within. While staying on the East coast for now, I hope this explodes and becomes huge, it's absolutely Mindblowing!
12.) Wolf- Legions Of Bastards
Wolf is a great overall Heavy Metal band. They really draw their influences of Judas Priest, Saxon, and other great NWOBHM bands. While the album is very straight forward Heavy Metal, it is a great listen and brings you back to the golden days of Metal. For those who need to relive the good days, check out Legions Of Bastards!
13.) The Haunted- Unseen
Wow, what a piece of shit record this is. I'm sorry but there's no other way to describe it. It's like Halford's Made Of Metal last year, ONE decent song, and the rest is pure garbage. The Haunted went from being on the forefront of the Swedish Melodic Death Metal scene to sounding like the band Nickelback and Five Finger Death Punch would be. There's only one way to describe it. PURE SHIT!
1/10 (only for the one good song on the album)
14.) Riverside- Memories In My Hand
Taking a very similar approach as Between The Buried And Me, Riverside is releasing an EP this year to go along with a concept album to be released next year. Riverside is the band of what happens when you mix Dream Theater, Opeth, and Porcupine Tree together. their first few albums, I had a really hard time getting into but as of late they have been writing an original sounding style that doesn't sound like amashup of the aforementioned bands. This 3 track EP is very, VERY good. Very mellow overall but it's original and flows together very nicely. I'm excited to hear What Riverside will be giving us next year!
15.) Devin Townsend- Ghost
The most beautiful album Devin Townsend has put out. That's all that needs to be said.
16.) Woods Of Desolation- Torn Beyond Reason
Possibly the greatest Blackened Post Metal band besides Alcest. Woods Of Desolation does it right. The atmosphere, the songwriting, the ideal of despair mixed with that eerie sense of hope. It's the perfect music to put on when you want to escape from everything, while it will be a depressing escape, its a great sense of musicality that needs to be taken. Buy This Album!
17.) Children Of Bodom- Relentless Reckless Forever
Damn the album title says it all, that sounds like it is Relentless and goes on Forever. This album is atrocious, there's just no other way to say it. So bland and boring. So what if Alexi can shred? If you don't have good song behind it, it sucks. Anything else to say about this album is just repeating myself. Check out their old albums, that's where it's at. Anything past Are You Dead Yet? Don't waste your time.
18.) Vreid- V
One of the finest Black Metal bands going right now. They aren't the stereotypical sounding Black Metal band, they are much more. Almost as if Iron Maiden's approach to Black Metal. V is the first album I have checked out from Vreid, but if this is the quality of music they put out, I'll be checking out all their previous albums. This is what Black Metal should sound like.
19.) The Galactic Cowboy Orchestra- All Out Of Peaches
Possibly the most left of center band on the entire list. Instrumental Orchestral Jazzy Blues Country Progressive Rock. I don't know of any other way to describe them. The album takes you through so many twists and turns leaving you wanting more. Which is my only complaint about the album. It feels a bit too varied at times. I'm hoping for the next album it will be a bit more consistent, rather the just a hodgepodge of genres. Other then that, fantastic album.
20.) Falkenbach- Tiurida
Falkenbach is what I consider to be if Agalloch went straight Folk Metal. This album is so fantastic from start to finish. That's really as fair of a review as I can give, if you like the Folk Metal side of Agalloch, you will LOVE Falkenbach's Tiurida!
21.) The Human Abstract- Digital Veil
The Human Abstract has been the baby brother to Between The Buried And Me and Protest The Hero. Not getting the same notoriety, but has the same level of chops. That said....these guys haven't really impressed me since their debut album. Digital Veil seems a bit bland and just like all the other technical Metal bands that are starting to come from bands who want to ripoff Meshuggah and Cynic. Granted that if I didn't know of Between The Buried And Me, I'd love these guys, but I do, so I really don't. I had hope for them back on their debut album, Nocturne, but not since.
22.) Wo Fat- Noche Del Chupacabra
Wo Fat takes 60's/70's jam bands and mixes it with Stoner Metal. In a sense it's taking Alan Parson's Frankenstein and having Clutch cover it and add their own variations however they see fit. This a phenomenal Stoner Metal band that just started to spring up. the 15 minutes self titled closer is perfect in every sense of the word. If you wanna get high without drugs, check out Wo Fat!
23.) Krallice- Diotima
Krallice is a Black Metal band that is not Black Metal. It is very hard to properly describe these guys and make it have sense without listening to them. While the tremolo picking and blast bats are there with the Black Metal screams, nothing else about it Black Metal. It's Avant Garde to a T. I'm not sure if I like or hate this album, but I'm oddly attracted to it and can't stop listening to it when I have it on. Its definitely an album that you have to take a chance with to have it make sense.
24.) Matterhorn- Vol. 1: The World Began Without Man
Possibly my favorite discovery from a band I know absolutely nothing about until this year. Their debut EP is simply awesome. Mastodon meets Torche. It's the only proper way to describe it. Check it out, I know You'll dig it too.
25.) Between The Buried and Me- The Parallax: The Hypersleep Dialogues
The 30 minute Mini Album from BTBAM to go with the full length album coming out next year. This EP, is FLAWLESS! In my eyes, BTBAM has only gotten better over time and every album surpasses the one before it.I even dare say this is their finest work to date. Lunar Wilderness is by far the greatest song they have ever written. While many are scared of what's going to happen in 2012. I know the full length concept sequel to this EP is coming out. That's all I need.
26.) UnXpect- Fables Of The Sleepless Empire
What a crazy album to end this half of the year. UnXpect is the definition of Avant Gard Metal. They will play ANYTHING they want to in the most fucked up way. But their latest album, is by far the most accessible. It has understandable melodies and harmonies, sections of 4/4 and other standard musical concepts I never expected from UnXpect. But they make it work perfectly. It's the Female fronted version of Fantomas wanted to play Strapping Young Lad.. I love it. this will be the album to make them sucessful, if it doesn't, nothing will.
So that's it for the first half of 2011. I may update this series in September after all the man, MANY progressive Metal albums come out then with many great albums to come before and after. I hope you've enjoyed it so far.
Thanks again, live long and prosper, stay metal, and any other standard closing you want to add.
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