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  #71  
Old 01-05-2012, 09:07 AM
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  #72  
Old 01-05-2012, 09:29 AM
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#4
Amorphis - The Beginning of Times

Amorphis are one of my all time favorite bands. I don't mean this as a way of saying I like them a lot, I mean that for me there's Maiden, Crimson, Priest, and then you've got Amorphis. Historically, as a band they have shifted style plenty of times, while still having a unique Finnish folk+metal core that is pretty tiny... but noticeable. Since acquiring their current singer, Tomi Joutsen in 2005 and releasing Eclipse in 2006, these guys have been on a storm of amazing music that most bands will never achieve. Of the four albums since 2006, The Beginning of Times is one of the best, and possibly the best. Doing what is kind of their 'thing' TBOT is another concept album based on Finnish mythology. ....But that barely even matters to be quite honest.

Each song here is amazing in it's own way and contributes to the album as a whole being an incredibly satisfying listen. Some songs are particularly "epic", even for Amorphis, notably the opening and closing tracks, but most of the songs are standard modern Amorphis in style, weaving back and forth from crushingly heavy to soft and melodic as Tomi Joutsen manages to absolutely bellow monstrous and intense (yet controlled) growls and seamlessly transition into beautiful crooning. Yeah, that 'standard' style is actually unique and fantastic prog metal and in no way disappointing. But this album has "more" to it. Some of the heavier moments and songs are their most headbangiest mindfucking things they've written since their (almost) pure death metal debut The Karelian Isthmus, and the lead single "You I Need" is probably their poppiest/catchiest/simplest yet awesome song yet (MAYBE Eclipse's "House of Sleep" comes close). Very few bands can have such a trademark sound and manage to never get stale, but even fewer bands can manage to make it super fresh and exciting every time. The Beginning of Times is even better than that.

Recommended songs:
"Battle For Light"
"Song Of The Sage"
"Crack In A Stone"
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  #73  
Old 01-05-2012, 08:17 PM
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#6
Arch Enemy - Khaos Legions

This is probably the easiest album to talk about on my list. If you like metal at all, you probably know who Arch Enemy are by now. This sounds like Arch Enemy. Their sound changes in subtle ways at best. However, this made it easy for me to notice that in terms of straight quality, this album is absofuckinglutely superb. This goes beyond the limit of any Arch Enemy album since their decade-previous melodeath masterwork Wages of Sin. The riffs, melodies, solos, and just everything about the songs are basically the same thing Arch Enemy have done for the past 10 years.... but also the best versions of them they've come up with in 10 years.

I honestly wasn't expecting to put this album so high on my list. Being not remotely innovative, and of a style I've been mostly drifting away from in my preferences, my expectations for Khaos Legions was just to be of acceptable quality. After one listen I was basically left with my jaw on the floor from hearing a melodeath album that impressed me more than I've been impressed by the genre in... well, a really long time. There's nothing new about this album, and it's only unique in one way. It may not offer any unfamiliar sounds, but it's uniqueness is just its raw quality which is off the fucking charts in terms of the sheer awesomeness this album brings.

Recommended songs:
"Through The Eyes of a Raven"
"Cruelty Without Beauty"
"Thorns In My Flesh"
I don't mean to piss on your parade but what did Arch Enemy ever do that was revolutionary musically? Seriously, not trolling. What did it do that Heartwork and Slaughter of the Soul didn't?
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  #74  
Old 01-06-2012, 03:13 PM
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I don't mean to piss on your parade but what did Arch Enemy ever do that was revolutionary musically? Seriously, not trolling. What did it do that Heartwork and Slaughter of the Soul didn't?
Absolutely nothing. They just did it better.
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  #75  
Old 01-06-2012, 04:35 PM
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#3
Symphony X - Iconoclast


This is possibly the most 'obvious' choice for an album to put on my list. For good reason. This is my favorite metal album of the year (sorry to anyone who wants more metal after this) and it has burned itself into my brain harder than any other metal has this past year. Much like Evergrey's Glorious Collision, this album is in a way a step back from Symphony X. Where their last effort, Paradise Lost diluted itself in heaviness (this sounds like it doesn't make sense but given the prog sensibilities that have always been the big draw to SX, it makes a crapload of sense), Iconoclast takes a step back, but not without dragging the good chunks of Paradise Lost with it. There were good ideas in that uberheavy album, but its subpar execution turned it into merely a 'good' album from a band we all expect 'great' from. Iconoclast takes all the good ideas and throws out all the lame ones.

Many people have said Iconoclast is the album that Paradise Lost should have been. I think this is actually pretty accurate because when listening to it, you know that Iconoclast achieves everything PL set out to do and then some. The softer moments are still as pretty as SX have ever been at their best (in fact "When All Is Lost" is one of the most amazing songs they have EVER put out), and the heavier moments are epic headbanging chaos and never fall for the "dumb" (I have no better way to describe it) trap sound that "heavy" music often falls for. What comes out is an album that is intricate, yet heavy, but knows when to give you a break. If I could think of one flaw for this album, it's that it's REALLY long. But there is no wasted time on Iconoclast, because literally every song is great. It just means you have to have more time set aside than usual if you want to listen to it in one go... which is 100% worth doing, because it's amazing.

Recommended songs:
"When All Is Lost"
"Electric Messiah"
"The Lords Of Chaos"
"Reign In Madness"
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  #76  
Old 01-06-2012, 04:42 PM
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Shit, your top 2 aren't metal albums? WHO'S THE FUCKING HIPSTER?
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  #77  
Old 01-06-2012, 04:48 PM
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WHO'S THE FUCKING HIPSTER?
You are. That was easy. Ask me another
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  #78  
Old 01-06-2012, 05:57 PM
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Absolutely nothing. They just did it better.

Oh. Well...Banjo-Tooie did 3d platforming better than Super Mario 64.
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  #79  
Old 01-06-2012, 06:04 PM
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Absolutely agreed with pretty much every word of your Iconoclast review - hence how it ended up being my own #1.
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  #80  
Old 01-06-2012, 06:04 PM
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Banjo-Tooie did 3d platforming better than Super Mario 64.
This is an undeniable fact.
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