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ProgPower USA XV Day 1 -- Atlanta, GA -- September 12th, 2014

  #11  
Old 12-21-2012, 08:05 AM
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Oops, forgetting to proofread strikes again! I thought they were a seven piece, but then checked my facts and it's only six. I guess I forgot to hit backspace when correcting myself.
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  #12  
Old 12-21-2012, 09:32 AM
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I know it's your opinion and that's cool ,but I still get really confused why you dislike the new BTBAM as much as you do. I know you love their older stuff and your criticisms of this record (except for they are trying to become a prog rock band) are the same ones their detractors have had for their whole career. Is it my favorite album by them? No, but If you thoroughly enjoy BTBAM's previous material it doesn't really make sense to me how you didn't enjoy this.
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  #13  
Old 12-24-2012, 01:16 PM
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EPs/Single/Releases that weren't labeled LPs


5. Smash Potater Ė The EP
Showing the forum some love, here. Smash Potater are a crossover/thrash band featuring poster metallicbrian666 on guitars and back up vokills. These guys write speedy songs that are short, sweet, and to the point. Fast riffs, speedy solos are abundant along with an array of vocal styles, from typical crossover shouted vocals to death growls. Every song starts with a sample of some sort, which ties in the song lyrically. Speaking of lyrics, these guys have a good sense of humor and use in their lyrics. Lyrical themes are mostly centered around food but they also have hilarious thrash commentary. Itís hard not to chuckle when listening to this EP. If you like quick thrash and funny lyrics, check this out.
Pit-O-Phile


4. Chrome Waves Ė Chrome Waves
Post-black metal super group Chrome Waves, featuring members of Wolvhammer, Gates of Slumber and The Atlas Moth, step foot into the metal realm with their self-titled debut EP. Their style of post-black metal is definitely a bit on the slower side, definitely taking on emphasis on the rock in post-rock. While the songs they write are slow in feeling and atmosphere, the do have an upbeat rock groove with constant chord strumming, similar to Agalloch. That sets them apart from many of their colleagues in the post-BM game. The only real line that connects these guys to black metal is the heavy use of minor chords do build a melancholic atmosphere and of course the blackened shrieks. Blast beats and unrelenting double bass passages are kept to a minimum on the record. The vocals are delivered with tons of emotion, and sound very tortured, as good black metal vocals should. Guitar and bass work on this album sound great with rich fuzzy tone and cool use of acoustic guitar, whether itís strumming are arpeggiating chords. Over all this is a great post-black metal record more in the vein of the neo-folk sound that Agalloch produces.
Height Of the Rifles


3. TNGHT Ė TNGHT EP
I wouldnít be surprised if Iím the only person to include this in their year-end review. Or if I was the only person who listened to it. TNGHT (pronounced ďtonightĒ) is a collaboration between producers Hudson Mohawke and Lunice. TNGHT create beats that quite energetic, bass heavy, loud, sample heavy, and could be described as ignorant or obnoxious. Considering bass, wonky, and trap are some of the tags on their last.fm, Iím not sure this is going to attract many people on there, but I really like it. Every song is different in feel and actually showcases some musical knowledge. There is obviously a lot of work put into these beats, because theyíre pretty layered with a lot of sounds and pretty impressive rhythmic work. They also use a lot of cool samples that donít seem common in hip-hop like babies, bubbles popping, cars crashing, video game sounds, and more. If you like fun, energetic electronic music, give it a shot.
Bugg'n


2. Light Bearer - Celestium Apocrypha; Book of Watchers
Technically this is a split with Northless, but I only downloaded the Light Bearer side, so Iím considering it a single. Light Bearer start yet another music series, the Celestium Apocrypha, which will be a compilation of side of whatís going on in the ∆sahśttr Tetralogy, with the first installment: Book of Watchers. The song start with about 4 minutes of feedback and static then drums fade, later joined by guitar, then bass. An excellent riff is established and played for a bit then changes as vocals come in, but it then returns to the main riff, this time layered with guitar leads. The riff evolves into a behemoth of a riff, then calms down for a bit, only to return to its previous stature, only to die down again. At this point thereís only noise and vocals that are harmonized. Slowly, piece-by-piece, the band enters back in and introduces a really slow, dark lead and pummeling drums that sound like a primitive warning that something dark and evil is coming. That eventually happens with an enormous, slow riff that blasts in, aided by call and response screamed vocals. Again, it dies down to a clean chord progression. It then ends in loud crescendo on a riff used earlier in the song. Light Bearer prove that they are masters in the craft of writing evil atmospheric sludge that pulls you in, sits you down, and tells you a story.
Celestium Apocrypha; Book of Watchers


1) Agalloch Ė Faustian Echoes
Agalloch release the finest EP of the year with their 20-minute song, Faustian Echoes. The song shows Agalloch furthering themselves into black metal as we saw on their last LP, Marrow of the Spirit. After a short sample, the song comes blazing with a back metal riff, full of tremolo picking and blast beats. It soon goes into the dark neo-folk kind of passage weíre used to from these guys, but heavier than before. The chord progression is soon met with an arpeggiation of chords layered on top. But they Agalloch doesnít stop there, adding even more layers, such as a tremolo picked melody on top of what has already been set. All of this is not 6 minutes into the song, and you have some of the best writing weíve seen from these guys, with awesome guitar layering, audible bass with a good tone and good bassline, and Aesopís drumming is ace. All of this is halted with a quick break with one of the catchiest riffs in Agalloch history. And like before, that riff is accompanied with an awesome melody and great backing section. That soon dies down, with a heavy and slow riff. After all comes to silence, weíre met with samples from a movie that I can only assume if about Faust, which is what the song is also about. They band returns to the song with a fast and furious black metal passage that is as much evil as it is beautiful. That evolves into less distorted black/folk metal riff. All of this then returns to a variation of that sweet riff that happened early in the song, around the 6:40 mark. They then introduce one last idea, accompanied with an awesome guitar solo, and then the song dies down to a sample from the movie mentioned before. Agalloch may have written one of their best songs to date with Faustian Echoes. It combines everything there is to love about their last two records and more.
Faustian Echoes
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  #14  
Old 12-24-2012, 02:52 PM
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Agreed on Faustian Echoes, it's one of Agalloch's best achievements yet. It blows Marrow of the Spirit out of the water, that's for sure. I think I still like Ashes Against the Grain best though, if only because it has more music to offer than this EP.
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  #15  
Old 12-25-2012, 08:28 AM
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Nice picks on some of the more eclectic ones. Looks like I have to check a few of these out.
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  #16  
Old 12-29-2012, 05:33 AM
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Wait, where is the rest of the list for this thread? I was digging it so far....
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  #17  
Old 12-29-2012, 07:48 AM
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I've been pretty busy the past week. I'll try to update it ASAP. Thanks for checking it out!
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  #18  
Old 12-31-2012, 12:41 PM
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15. Torche Ė Harmonicraft
Everybodyís favorite hipster metal band slaps some new music on the table this year with their third album, Harmonicraft. These guys write music that is self-pronounced ďthunder popĒ. And it sounds almost exactly like that. Short, catchy songs made of thunderous riffs. Songs range from fast and energetic, like Letting Go and Walk It off, or songs that are more relaxed and groovy, such as Reverse Inverted and Roaming. And of course there are tracks that fall in between Skin Moth and Kicking. Some songs also show of some really cool scaler licks like Snakes Are Charmed and the title track. But no matter what theyíre doing, every track gets your head bobbiní and in a good mood. There isnít really much more to say. This album is an incredibly fun listen full of awesome songs made of kickass riffs. Itís nothing groundbreaking, but they just do it so wonderfully I canít help but love it.
Snakes Are Charmed


14. Alcest - Les Voyages De L'¬me
There seems to have been some dispute with this record. People are either considering Alcestís third record, Les Voyages De L'¬me, to be the best or worst Alcest record to date. While I tend to side with the people who think itís the worst, I donít find it to be quite as disappointing, and still really love the record. It held number 1 on the list for quite a long time, but thatís due to the fact that this album was released January 6, 2012; very early in the year. One thing thatís really great about the album is the production. This things sound angelic. I can imagine Beings of Lights being the sound track to an angel descending from the heavens unto Earth to wipe the planet of all that is wrong with world. Most of the songs are more on the post-rock/shoegazing side than black metal, but there are black metal moments like on the second and fifth tracks, but thatís about it. Otherwise itís bright, uplifting, nostalgic side that weíve come to associate with Alcest. And itís done really well and is more rock based than the lighter side of Souvenirs D'un Autre Monde. But the only thing is that a lot of the songs do feel formulaic. It does feel kind of like Alcest by the numbers. But even if it doesnít feel as genuine as the first two records, itís definitely an impressive record with more colors explored than previously. The worst Alcest record is still an incredible one.
Lŗ Oý Naissent Les Couleurs Nouvelles


13. Neurosis Ė Honor Found In Decay
Neurosis are one of those bands I know Iíll love when I check out and explore, but just havenít gotten to yet. I did spin their acclaimed album, Through Silver In Blood, a few times about a year ago and remember really enjoying it but have yet to return to it. So when I heard they had a new album coming out this year, I decided to check it out, since checking out a bandís new material then going back has worked for me in a few cases. The record starts on a great note, with the pummeling track, We All Rage in Gold. The riffs are heavy, Scott Kellyís voice is mad and thereís even a flute solo at the end! Through out the record, many of the songs are consistent with the same, slow, pained, doom feel, yet it refrains from sounding repetitive. The songs build on themselves as they progress but come to climax in different ways. Like how on At The Well, the song ends with an aggressive chord progression while Scott yells like a tormented man and on the track My Heart For Deliverance the song ends with a slower, post-rock like ending with the guitars playing a pained melody that is massive. But even though the songs vary, the theme is pretty much the same through out the whole album. Other than that, Neurosis delivers an awesome atmospheric sludge record that is pummeling in every way possible.
At The Well


12. Old Man Gloom Ė No
8 years after their last album, Old Man Gloom come back with their crushing new album No. Old Man Gloom is a super group of sorts, featuring Aaron Turner of Isis fame and Nate Newton from Converge. Along with Santos Montano of Zozobra and Caleb Scofield of Cave In, they produce a really dark, gritty sludge that is riddled with elements of ambient and noise. The music is often slow, heavier than all hell, noisy and angry. Aaron Turnerís twisted screams are distorted, which gives Ďem a more sinister sound than ever before. One could compare the music to a heavier, crustier Isis, but thatís not the whole story. Along with heavy atmospheric sludge you also songs that sound like the tasteful are sludge of Baroness, like the track Regain/Rejoin. There is a heavier of electronics and noise, like on the track Shadowed Hand, or Rats. Along with that, the track lengths vary, with about half the album never reaching 5 minutes then four other tracks at least 8, with the final track, Shuddering Earth breaking 14 minutes. Old Man Gloom released a hell of a sludge album with No, full of tons of sounds from electronic and ambient music along side heavy, pained riffs. Dig it!
Rats


11. Enslaved Ė RIITIIR
Enslaved were one of those black metal bands that I meant to get into when I started exploring the genre but never got around. When I heard tons of praise for their 2010 effort, Axioma Ethica Odini, I thought Iíd give it a shot, because I was interested in what this so called progressive black metal would sound like. I was blown away with what I heard. Enslaved maintain the epic qualities of viking/black metal and through the power of excellent songwriting abilities, combine those elements with majesty of progressive rock to make some really heavy, brain-tingling, and really powerful music. On their new album, RIITIIR, Enslaved bump of the prog a notch or two. Thereís more clean singing on this album than the last, the guys are pulling out even more odd meters, jazzier chord voicings, and tasteful uplifting passages. The album has eight songs, most of which at least 9 minutes long, so the album gives you over an hour of incredible progressive black metal. Something worth mentioning is that every song seemingly seems to flow from one to another. It makes the album a fluid and flowing listen. Overall, the new Enslaved is a great step forward in this progressive direction.
Roots of the Mountain
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  #19  
Old 01-01-2013, 08:17 PM
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That Chrome Waves album was really good. I kind of forgot about it until I just now saw it on your list.

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  #20  
Old 01-02-2013, 07:29 PM
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Top Performances: 10-6

Before we jump in the Top 10 albums, I'll be doing Top 10 live performances. Again, increments of 5.

10. Hyro Da Hero @ Warped Tour -- San Francisco, CA -- June 23rd

Hyro Da Hero and his band put on an incredible live performance. I only knew to check him out because Manks gave 'em a positive review in his Warped '12 preview, and I'm sure glad I checked out Hyro. He and his band has so much energy, running and jumping around the stage almost like DEP, and played really fun rap-rock. Despite not having the most impressive crowd, Hyro put in his all and often got on the guard rail and during the last song actually got into the crowd and moshed with people. That really got the crowd going. Overall super fun, high-energy set.
Original Review

9. Red Hot Chili Peppers @ Oracle Arena -- Oakland, CA -- August 15th

My first concert was almost 6 years prior to this date, when I saw the Chili Peppers at the same spot on August 22nd in in 2006. They put on a hell of a show then and put on a hell of show now. As usual, these guys were full on energy, played tons of awesome songs including most all the necessary hits and a few songs of the new one and some deep cuts, like Sir Psycho Sexy . Although I think they should've played longer due to their extensive library, it was a good show and it was fun seeing 'em again!

8. High on Fire @ The Atrium -- Santa Cruz, CA -- December 18th

My third time seeing High on Fire and the best so far! Matt Pike and co. but on an awesome set full of nothing but heavy hitting songs! All the songs sounded awesome from the new ones to the classics. Everybody sounded flawless and Des was on it! The crowd had one too many drunk assholes in the pit, and the set could've been longer, but it was still a hell of a time rockin' out to some fucking awesome heavy metal.

7. Young Hunter @ Arlene Francis Center -- Santa Rosa, CA -- June 1st

I learned of these guys about 3 days prior to the event when Cormorant announced they were doing a west coast tour with these cats. I checked out their debut album, Stone Tools (which you'll read of later ) and was really impressed. They were playing a gig in Santa Rosa before the tour started while Cormorant was off playing some 21+ show in the next town over ;_;, so I decided to hit up Young Hunter with my buddy. After all the odd opening bands, Young Hunter came on and blew me away. They sounded even better live than on record and put in so much emotion and soul into their playing. The music was so heavy and created such an honest atmosphere that I couldn't help but love. I talked to the lead man and the bassist after the show and they were super chill. Also, I'm pretty sure me and my friend were the only dudes there who weren't friends of the band.
Original Review

6. Agalloch @ The Great American Music Hall - San Francisco, CA - August 11th

What a show! Agalloch put on an incredible set including material from all their full lengths and two most important EPs. Like last time, they had a lot of nature themed stage props and more importantly sounded incredible. Aesop sounded awesome the whole night, especially on Faustian Echoes, and John and Don were also spot on with all the guitar work. It was all there: awesome/lengthy set, incredible stage show, incredible sound, and just enough stage banter. Everything was genuine and awesome.
Original Review
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Last edited by slapguitarer; 01-03-2013 at 11:22 AM.
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