Time for round 3...
21.) Dead By April- Let the World Know
I figure I should Let The World Know (yes pun intended) that Raunchy really got screwed over. there are so many bands in the last couple years or so who have taken what Raunchy was known for (Synth driven, Modern Melodic Death Metal) and have really capitalized on it. And in Europe, Dead By April is a shining example of that. It's really hard to hear this type of music and not think that Raunchy could and would do so much better at it. All of that said, Dead By April is a very Poppy Modern Metal band and they are not afraid to show it. it's good fun stuff, but not very original especially if you grew up in the early to mid 2000s Metal scene and enjoyed Raunchy like I do.
22.) Gridlink- Longhena
Over the top Technical Grindcore. It's almost like Progressive Grindcore if you can imagine such a thing. This band and Wormrot are the two bands I like to showcase to people to show that Grindcore is more than just what some consider noise. There is actually structure, melodicness and beauty behind what is being performed here, and you can definitely hear it in the Instrumental version of this album. This is absolutely killer stuff and it is such a shame that this is their last album. But that said, this is a hell of a swansong.
23.) The Kennedy Veil- Trinity Of Falsehood
Another very technical Death Metal, but I do say that this band steers clear of the typical Tech Death that's out there. it's not just about being as brutal as possible (spoiler alert, it's still brutal), but it showcases what all the musicians of the band are capable of and very reminiscent of the first album from The Faceless, so if you dig that, you'll dig this a lot.
24.) Periphery- Clear
Again proving on this 29 minute experiment (I will be gracious to the band and not call this an EP or mini-album, it's an experiment), that Periphery, while being the forefront band of "Djent", that they actually killed off the genre of Djent with their last album Periphery II. This is a prog album in every since of the word. It goes from what some call the stereotypical djent sound (which again the last album proves is a Misha thing) to Pop Rock to Black Metal. Overall it is a Prog album, not Djent. every song on here really does showcase what every member of the band is capable of since each member of the band wrote a song. This is only going to lead to bigger and better things with their next album. This is how Modern Prog Metal should be showcased and damn it is done right.
25.) Vanishing Point- Distant Is the Sun
How in the Hell have I never given Vanishing Point a chance before? This is exactly what I love about Prog Metal in one album. it's Melodic, technical, well written, catchy, and overall just a fantastic music listening experience. The best comparison I can give this band is to Pagan's Mind (who are my favorite Progressive Power Metal band). Vanishing Point have waited 7 years since their last album, but I gotta say, they didn't lose a thing, this is Prog Perfection!
26.) Primal Fear- Delivering The Black
Ah yes, the Judas Priest of Power Metal. Their last album didn't actually do too much for me, but this time around it feels like they got it right, while I can see why some consider this album disappointing, Primal Fear does what they are best at, rocking out, and honestly that's all i ask of a band like this. It's just a fun Power Metal experience.
27.) Mendel- Shaking Hands With The Devil/Subliminal Colors (Double Album)
This is a solo project of the guitarist of Aborted and System Divide. It is pure instrumental Progressive Metal with a symphonic edge to it. This is best showcased on the final 25 minute track, Absolution. The entire album is so very damn cool. You can tell that a Death Metal guitarist really wanted to let his Prog side out and it is done right here. Yes it can get a bit samey after a while since there is no vocals, but if you appreciate damn good Instrumental music like I do, this will be right up your alley. By the way for the next 5 days this album is available for free via bandcamp, so jump on this album while you can, or donate to a worthy cause.
28.) Freedom Call- Beyond
This is straight up Power Metal from Germany. There is nothing really groundbreaking about this album, but it really is well done. Any Power Metal fan can appreciate Freedom Call, they got what you want in the genre. I can definitely dig it.
29.) Mechina- Xenon
One of my favorite discoveries of the year released this masterpiece on January 1st. There is so many ways you can describe this band, Symphonic, Industrial, Death Metal. Any way you wanna go about it, they are definitely an ever growing epic of a band. Every album done so far is a part of a grand sci-fi story (much like Coheed and Cambria) but done on a much grander scheme. I thought their last album was their best work to date, but Xenon is proving to me that each album gets better and better, grander and grander, and more and more epic. Mechina hit it out of the park once again, I really hope they can get the recognition they deserve this year. Xenon proves they deserve it.
30.) Transatlantic- Kaleidoscope
The Supergroup of Progressive Rock is back with their 4th album. Surprisingly to me not a lot of people dug the last album, The Whirlwind, I happen to really love all their previous work. Kaleidoscope to me is continuing their winning pattern, while there is only two epics on this album, all the other tracks, and their bonus disc of covers is spectacular, even their take on one of my least favorite songs ever, Knights in White Satin, is magnificently well done and make the song a bit less crappy in my eyes. Overall, this is the 4th epic from the monster supergroup of Prog and it is so very well done, I hope down the road people will agree with me on this one, I know it's a bit mixed right now, but just let it grow on you, it's worth it.
31.) Benighted- Carnivore Sublime
One of the most brutal bands to come from France (of course Gojira being the other brutal band of French men). Benighted is very reminiscent of Anaal Nathrakh (although I enjoy the vocal styling of Anaal much, MUCH more) music wise its just as varied and badass. the vocals are a bit hard to get into for me as I am not big on Pig Squeals, but when the pig squeals aren't happening, it sounds like perfect Deathgrind.
32.) Macbeth- Neo-Gothic Propaganda
Much like the band name and the album title suggests, Macbeth is a very macabre dark band. A very symphonic Gothic Metal band. Both male and female vocals make this a very enjoyable album. While not groundbreaking by any means, it's just something you can kick back, light some black candles, and enjoy. Sometimes that's all you need.
33.) Iced Earth- Plagues Of Babylon
This is another album from Iced Earth that doesn't fall in the mediocre side. You either hate it or love it. Being an IE fanboy, I do love it. And I actually dig it a lot more than I do Dystopia, which I still feel was an album on the right track after the tragedy of an album The Crucible of Man. Plagues feels like an album that got Jon Schaffer the spark under his ass he needed to write another classic IE album which really hasn't been done since Framing Armageddon. Having Hansi from Blind Guardian doing backup vocals on the album definitely didn't hurt. While I don't think this will go down as a favorite amongst many IE fans, it will go down as a very solid album, and hey, that's good enough for me.
34.) Crosses (†††)- ††† (Crosses)
This definitely isn't a standard album that I would listen to. Even with Chino from Deftones in this band, it doesn't feel like Deftones, or Team Sleep, or anything he has done before. It's a more electronic based Alternarock. Its not as subdued as Team Sleep, but nowhere near heavy like Deftones, it's it's own entity. I need more listens to properly digest this album, but I actually do like what I hear, which is strange for me.
35.) Vital Science- Imaginations On the Subject Of Infinity
Heavy, Heavy, HEAVY Symphony X influence coming from this band, almost to ripoff levels (that can be a good thing or a bad thing depending on how you look at it) To me if I wanna hear SX, I'll play SX. It's not to say this band isn't talented, but I just hope down the road, like Circus Maximus when it came to ripping off Dream Theater, that they eventually find their own sound and embrace it.
36.) Narcotic Wasteland- S/T
To those who like Nile, but wish they weren't as Brutal and more groove orientated Death Metal....and sings about being on drugs, well Karl Sander's side project is exactly that. To me it is actually more enjoyable than some Nile albums because it isn't so over the top technical. Not to say this isn't technical, just not like Nile in any way. This album is a good break for Karl before gearing up to do more Nile tours because it showcases the other side of his playing, and it is damn good when it's not at 280BPM and Gravity Blasts all over the place. Overall it is a fun listen, although the lyrics are depressing if you have ever had to deal with addiction.
37.) Fate Control- Random Survival
Pretty damn heavy Progressive Metal. Very Synth driven and Melodic as well. the vocals range from raspy thrash to clean to gutteral growls, so you can hear Opeth, Symphony X and latter day Fates Warning all rolled into one with a side order of Pantera for good measure. I hope these guys catch on because this is damn good stuff and covers the ground on everything Progressive Metal.
38.) Twilight- III: Beneath Trident's Tomb
No this has nothing to do with the glittery vampire saga. Twilight has been around for years and on their third and swansong album, the Black Metal supergroup goes even more experimental. From nearly Industrial Gothic Metal to Atmospheric Black Metal to class raw Black Metal, they cover the ground quite nicely in a very experimental way, while I wouldn't recommend this so much of a starter album for the band, it is the perfect swansong for the band, they will be missed....and not just missed because you tried looking them up and all you could find was tween stuff.
39.) Amoral- Fallen Leaves & Dead Sparrows
Before I gush I must say that the vocals will not be for everyone, but DAMN the music is nearly too good to be true for a guy like me. Progressive Power Metal with a nice Melodic catchy side that suckers you in and makes you wanna hear the whole album. The reason for my preface to this review is because I can tell not everyone will like the vocal approach at least at times, but it fits perfectly for the music being displayed, this is definitely going to go down as one of the top albums of the year. Fantastic Progressive Power Metal
40.) Ethereal Logic- Opus Machina
Even though i do review a lot of Death Metal on here, it is hardly my favorite style of Metal, but when it is done right as Ethereal Logic have done, it quickly becomes a huge obsession of mine that I will always love. The style is a bit hard to explain so I will try my best. Try combining Gojira (especially the vocals), Opeth, Periphery (not vocally), and Scar Symmetry. It has the brutalness and vocal stylings of Gojira, the melodicness of Scar Symmetry, The Prog Death metal and track length of Opeth, and the breakdowns of Periphery. It's amazing these guys aren't really heard of before now. and I really hope they do catch on. This 4 track album catches on. It's well worth it.
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