Eh, here are a few more. Not really enjoying this as much as I should.
18. Opeth – Heritage – The Devil’s Orchard – Roadrunner Records
As a diehard Opeth fan, I looked forward to Opeth going clean, into a Rush-like direction, and upon listening to the album, I was only disappointed by a little. My expectations were too high seeing as how they’re my favorite band. The only faults of the record lie in the feel of the album; songs passed without me noticing, especially during the middle of the album. Akerfeldt’s voice stands out here, as well as the guitar work; the guitar riff to The Devil’s Orchard must be one of my favorite riffs of the year, and I Feel the Dark should be a staple in their acoustic/clean sets. Slither is also one of my favorite tracks, with full-on prog all the way through. Should Opeth continue down this road? Perhaps. If Akerfeldt feels his talent now lies away from death metal, all the glory to him, but I hope this is just a slight deviation, and that the future of Opeth won’t resemble this record.
17. Liturgy – Aesthetica – High Gold - Whatever label they're on
Liturgy is a hipster black metal band – like the ‘genre’ of viking metal, it says nothing about their sound, simply their ‘scene’ or whatnot. Touring with bands like electronic artist Diplo and indie pop act Sleigh Bells doesn’t do much for them, but if you look past the name calling, Liturgy’s new album Aesthetica is captivating. An avant-garde take on Wolves in the Throne Room’s less mystical material, these Brooklyn-based guys do what they do well. By abandoning the black metal stereotypical image of corpse-paint, the decision acts as a paradigm shift – songs such as High Gold, Generation, and Sun of Light become audial assaults, armed to the teeth, a straight-up dose of noise.
16. Mastodon – The Hunter – Spectrelight – Roadrunner Records
Another one of my favorite bands, this is a new direction for Mastodon – going away from the idea of concept albums (represented by their previous releases), The Hunter can easily be appreciated as a compilation of the different sides of Mastodon. From classic Mastodon heavy-hitters such as Spectrelight and Black Tongue, and stoner metal, High on Fire-inspired anthems like Curl of the Burl and Blasteroid, The Hunter showcases the flexibility Mastodon is capable of. With a beautiful finale in the form of the title track, Mastodon end their latest release with a line that’s sure to stick in the mind for days to come, “Pursue happiness with diligence”. While The Hunter does contain one or two lackluster tracks (Stargasm comes to mind), this is a solid release from one of the best, most innovative metal bands out today.
15. Burzum – Fallen – Jeg faller - Whatever label he's on
Varg Vikernes’ one-man black metal band Burzum has, over the years, become infamous in the black metal scene; with his extremist views and having killed Mayhem’s frontman Euronymous in the mid-90’s, Burzum is a love-it or hate-it band. Since his release from prison, he’s released two albums – last year’s Belus and his newest album, Fallen. Both superb albums and strong examples of his unrelenting musicianship despite the many years in prison, both albums would be better as a double-album.