#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.
#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.
#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.
#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.
#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"