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  #31  
Old 11-30-2011, 10:18 AM
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Just sayin, I thought Skeletonwitch was way better than their last album!
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For what it's worth, Belphegor was surprisingly good, and Red Fang is fucking incredible.
Thanks for accentuating my shortcomings you guys.

I'm pretty much completely burnt out on listening to new albums. There were about 25 left on my 'to get to' list when I just quit.
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  #32  
Old 11-30-2011, 10:27 AM
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To pile it on, the Hammers of Misfortune is amazing.
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  #33  
Old 11-30-2011, 10:35 AM
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To pile it on, the Hammers of Misfortune is amazing.
SO I'VE HEARD. I haven't heard any of their albums so I don't even know what they sound like. I just saw the prog/heavy tag and assumed there'd be other things of more interest to focus on.
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  #34  
Old 11-30-2011, 11:33 AM
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Don't sweat it. There's always a few you don't have time for - that's why I add that little list of shit I couldn't get to each year.

I was just letting you know in case you ever wanted to check back on those couple of albums some other time.
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  #35  
Old 11-30-2011, 11:46 AM
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Yeah that sucks about running out of time to check those out. When do you find time though Heiden and Hammers should be the top priority out of that list.
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  #36  
Old 12-01-2011, 12:38 PM
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#50 Omega Massif - Karpatia

This record is thick and dense. It's not the type of record I'll be spinning very often, but it deserves a spot on the list. I really enjoy the softer atmospheric moments of this album more than the balls to the wall heavy chugging that's the bulk of it. "Ursus Arctos" is an example, opening up with a nice atmospheric landscape before converting to sluggish post-metal at a doom pace, then relapsing back into softness for a minute or two, then back to sluggish post-metal at a doom pace. Those soft moments are much needed when listening to this massive, crushing, forty-six minutes of gloom.



#49 Leviathan - True Traitor, True Whore

The vocals here are pretty weak. They're distorted into the mix to the point that they're close to a con. I feel the record would be stronger without them, which is a real bummer. The last 1:45 of "Contrary Pulse" gives us a glimpse of what this album could be if it were instrumental. But like most albums, if we look past the flaws there are usually redeeming qualities. There's a multitude of various sounds here. They're all layered together well. There are ambient moments throughout some tracks ("Every Orifice Yawning Her Price"). The heavy distorted guitar work is memorable, as is the clean. The production is polished. Some tracks showcase a variety of tempo changes ("Harlot Rises"). There's a fairly dark and bizarre atmosphere to the whole thing.
HIGHLIGHTS: "Harlot Rises," "Contrary Pulse," "Shed This Skin"



#48 PJ Harvey - Let England Shake

I'm rarely one to pay a great deal of attention to lyrics, unless they're just exceptional or critical to understanding an album. What we have here is a conceptually deeply-rooted themed album disguised by the actual sound of the album. Meaning that if someone listened to this album and paid no attention to the lyrics, they wouldn't have a clue what the album's about, because unlike most albums, the characterization of this album isn't projected in its sound. The lyrics are very interesting, and they're representative of quite a bit of thought. Harvey remarked "I'm not a removed person, no matter what I'm doing. I've always been very visceral in that I feel things very deeply. I certainly can get very angry about things I hear day to day, and shout at the radio, shout at the television, or actually feel sick or feel like weeping." Themes here mostly include the first Great War (specifically, the Battle of Gallipoli, which she seems to know a great deal about), death and casualties of war, soldiers "falling like lumps of meat," and reminiscences of England's glory days - "England's dancing days are over" (Harvey failed to recognize it as a Zeppelin reference when she wrote it). I saw it asked and it might be noted, even though I don't know and haven't seen it brought up in an interview, there's a distinct possibility the title of the album came from a letter Edward Maitland wrote in 1876 condemning vivisection. "Let England shake off the moral lethargy which has fallen upon her, and rise in full determination to cast out this hideous thing from her midst." This is the only album that ultimately earned its spot on the list with lyrical content and thematics. The sound is enough to grab your attention, but what the album portrays is what really intrigues the listener.



#47 Wolvhammer - The Obsidian Plains

This record, like Omega Massif's, didn't really do much for me emotionally. Not that the two are very similar beyond denseness and ugliness; Karpatia shares much more common ground with Black Cobra's new release. No tracks really stand out here. It's another case of just enjoying the sound. This blackened crust is gritty, nasty, sludgy, distasteful, and impenetrable. This is the album that portrays the vagabonds residing in dystopian urban slums. It's the rat bastard of modern formulaic metal. Profound Lore remarked that, known for combining Darkthrone/Celtic Frost/Hellhammer-esque black metal with punk, crust, and doom, Wolvhammer creates a sound that's like a vivacious sledgehammer blow to the head. There are far better bands on Profound Lore's roster, but this one certainly carves its niche.



#46 sleepmakeswaves - …and so we destroyed everything

sleepmakeswaves seem to be the equivalent to post-rock that Origin or Obscura are to metal. They're very technically proficient, they're good composers, they're mature songwriters (impressive considering this is their sophomore effort), there's nothing groundbreaking or earth-shattering about them... they're just a solid band writing impressive, math-type, technical music. They're fast for a post-rock band. The drumming is extremely impressive, and unusually emphatic for a post-rock band. For anyone familiar with my tastes, though I admit all these things appeal more to me behind post-rock than technical metal, it's not my ideal style. The pace of the music renders it less prone to an emotional disposition (Caspian is one of the few post-rock bands that can be extremely emotional at a fast pace). Nevertheless, it's an impressive release.
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  #37  
Old 12-01-2011, 01:22 PM
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#50 Omega Massif - Karpatia

This record is thick and dense. It's not the type of record I'll be spinning very often, but it deserves a spot on the list. I really enjoy the softer atmospheric moments of this album more than the balls to the wall heavy chugging that's the bulk of it. "Ursus Arctos" is an example, opening up with a nice atmospheric landscape before converting to sluggish post-metal at a doom pace, then relapsing back into softness for a minute or two, then back to sluggish post-metal at a doom pace. Those soft moments are much needed when listening to this massive, crushing, forty-six minutes of gloom.
I've never met anyone, anywhere, ever who knew about this band...until now. What's not surprising is that I saw them mentioned in your thread. What is surprising is that I haven't listened to this album. Gotta get on that.

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#46 sleepmakeswaves - …and so we destroyed everything
sleepmakeswaves seem to be the equivalent to post-rock that Origin or Obscura are to metal. They're very technically proficient, they're good composers, they're mature songwriters (impressive considering this is their sophomore effort), there's nothing groundbreaking or earth-shattering about them... they're just a solid band writing impressive, math-type, technical music. They're fast for a post-rock band. The drumming is extremely impressive, and unusually emphatic for a post-rock band. For anyone familiar with my tastes, though I admit all these things appeal more to me behind post-rock than technical metal, it's not my ideal style. The pace of the music renders it less prone to an emotional disposition (Caspian is one of the few post-rock bands that can be extremely emotional at a fast pace). Nevertheless, it's an impressive release.
Very nice. I love this band / album.
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  #38  
Old 12-01-2011, 02:52 PM
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Welllllllll, two of my top ten in the bottom three, so.
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  #39  
Old 12-03-2011, 10:05 AM
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#45 Satan's Host - By the Hands of the Devil

First and foremostly what needs to be commented on is the vocals. Holy shit holy shit holy shit their vocalist sounds like a combination of Bruce Dickinson and King Diamond. It's a shame there aren't more clean vocals in extreme metal these days. Not to harp on or diss harsh vocals, but I've always liked clean vocals, and the vocalist for Satan's Host executes them to perfection. This album is a heavy metal/power/thrash/dark/evil hybrid with black metal influence. The chemistry in this band is fantastic. They play well together, this album is energetic from start to finish, and it sounds like it's straight out of the 80's. For fans of Mercyful Fate who haven't heard this, it's a must listen.
Recommendation for those who like this album: Hell's Human Remains



#44 Mastodon - The Hunter

They're still doing their thing without sounding redundant. That's more than 75% of bands in existence can say. If bands were like paintings, Mastodon would be like abstract Picasso. It's not always my favorite style, but it deserves respect and appreciation. Sometimes I think Mastodon has more creative juice than just about any other band out there, and sometimes I think they sound elementary. It's a mixed bag for me. But in the end, there's something about them that's just captivating. And I don't know any other way to describe it.
Highlights: "The Hunter" (incredible solo), "The Sparrow" (absolutely beautiful, majestic track. One of the best songs of the year without a doubt.)



#43 Industries of the Blind - Chapter 1: Had We Known Better

This album is very easy to sum up. If all the material here was as excellent as the first track, it would be a top 10 release. If they made a full-length that was, in its entirety, the caliber of the first track, it would be contending for album of the year. This track is "I Just Wanted to Make You Something Beautiful," and it's one of the best songs of 2011. A truly brilliant thirteen minutes. After a piano-led intro the strings come in, then the guitar, and while the violin takes center stage delivering an incredibly heartfelt melody the percussion and piano and guitar illuminate the sound from the background. The drums grow stronger as the track progresses but the strings never surrender their center of focus. Don't get me wrong, the second track here is great too, but it doesn't compare to the first. If anything, this year has in a sense revitalized my hope for post-rock. There're a handful of freshman EP's this year that have eclipsed full-lengths by veteran post-rock bands, and some are higher up on this list; it's incredible. Here's another band we'll be looking to in the future for greatness.
HIGHLIGHTS: "I Just Wanted to Make You Something Beautiful"



#42 FareWell Poetry - Hoping For the Impossible to Ignite

If anything is reminiscent of Godspeed You! Black Emperor style post-rock, FareWell Poetry is it. The album opens up with a long unsettling monologue. Though the transcript seems impossible to find on the net, we hear a woman saying "in privacy of heart, I shuffle vagary and trick, and the millions suck at my bowels like lice... like a bloody travois made for her return, rumors of her desertion like the cruel whisper of the winter wind hissing through the porch teeth... nine days of wondering how the clock could summon up enough vim to muscle through the minutes..." All the while very atmospheric disquieting instrumentation (including guitars and accordions) can be heard echoing in the background, until later it becomes heavier and more prominent. The music here sounds like it's resonating out of a well. It's the type of music that puts you in a trance or a state of hypnosis rather than forcing you to focus on it. Around seven and a half minutes in we get the first really noticeable melody, but the monologue continues. The nineteen minute whopper of an opener is the best this record has to offer. They're very cinematic and exercise excellent build ups in the two longest tracks. There's a very "epic" feel about this band, which in their case is a good thing. "In Dreams Airlifted Our" is a much shorter, more concentrated, typical type of post-rock song. So the verdict: Here's another post-rock band with A LOT of potential. This record is only this low on the list because the songwriting isn't what I'd consider excellent yet, but in time this band could be producing material topping EOY album lists.
HIGHLIGHTS: "As True as Troilus," "All in the Full, Indomitable Light of Hope (Part II)"



#41 Leeland - The Great Awakening

Leeland is a Christian worship band, and I only point that out because they're not exactly discussed often on this forum, and I realize most of you probably aren't fans of this type of music. Nevertheless, I've been a fan of these guys for a while now. I really don't often look to "Christian" music to find good music, because in all honesty there are drastically fewer good Christian bands than secular bands. And Christianity fused with metal has, for the most part, been a disaster (as I'm sure most of us would agree with). There are some exceptions to this. For example, Christian death metallers, A Hill To Die Upon, released a great album this year, which probably should've made my list in all actuality. And there've been a handful of gothic Christian bands over the years that were excellent, but as a general principle Christian metal is something to approach with the utmost caution. Leeland is a band that just writes very pretty, melodic, uplifting music. It's emotional music, and it's well written. This is their best record since Sound of Melodies, and it's their most mature and technically proficient release to date. Lyrics mostly revolve around the Gospel. But songwriting is their strong point. Rarely do you hear worship music that features even adequate songwriting, but here it's paramount.
HIGHLIGHTS: "The Great Awakening," "All Over The Earth," "Pages," "Not Afraid Anymore," "While We Sing," "I Cry"
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  #40  
Old 12-04-2011, 12:47 PM
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#40 Alghazanth - Vinum Intus

I haven't heard any of their earlier albums, but Vinum Intus alone tells me Alghazanth has the potential to become, if they haven't already, worthy of joining the ranks of Nokturnal Mortum and Emperor. This is symphonic black metal with zero cheese factor. This album is very intense, but still retains that melodic element. In fact some parts of this album are incredibly melodic, such as the choir part in "With A Thorn In Our Hearts." But the choir parts aren't over the top or "epic," if you will; rather, they're modest and serve as accents to Alghazanth's sound. This aspect tends to enhance the band's dynamics rather than serve as an inelastic crutch. The riffing is melodic as well. Staying true to BM, a lot of the drumming is blast beating, as you'd expect. The vocals seem very well executed. Tracks that feature acoustic guitars and use of piano, such as "For Thirteen Moons" and "Only The Reflection Bleeds" are the best on the album, probably because they're the most dynamic. This isn't a lo-fi album (if it was it probably wouldn't have made the list). There's something here for most any black metal listener to enjoy, whether fans of raw, gritty InThyFlesh or commercial BM acts Cradle of Filth or Dimmu Borgir.



#39 Black Tusk - Set the Dial

Black Tusk's sludge metal is much more uptempo, to the point that sometimes it sounds like borderline punk with its often ferocious pace. The vocals don't help either, but the instruments themselves are definitely sludge, not punk. Black Tusk is far more one-dimensional than, say, Giant Squid, but what they do they do well. This album is really tightly packed and focuses on its thesis without getting experimental. There are some great riffs, and the album as a whole is fairly technical (which is fairly natural and commonplace with faster music), but unlike a lot of bands that do the technical thing, it doesn't subtract from this record at all. The standout track is probably "Resistor." No vocals on this track, and some real groovy guitar parts. But most of the songs have some real groovy guitar parts, I just wish more of them had no vocals.



#38 Tombs - Path of Totality

I really feel this album might be the most overrated album of the year. The amount of hype its received is astounding:
http://www.npr.org/blogs/allsongs/20...albums-of-2011 (NPR)
http://stereogum.com/892061/decibels...-of-2011/list/ (Decibel)
http://pitchfork.com/features/show-n...lbums-of-2011/ (Pitchfork)

It's a good album, no doubt about it. But when I listen to it there's nothing that warrants its being a top 5 release. Or a top 25 release, for that matter. That's not to say it won't grow on me though. This record basically takes the sound from Winter Hours, refines it, constructs a balance between cleanness and chaos, and the result takes the listener to a dark, hazy, uncertain place. What's interesting is that, unlike Winter Hours which had far less discernible riffs, the riffs here are discernible, though chaotic, yet the whole album somehow maintains an incredibly clean feeling despite its chaos. The chaos is on a noise level, not a structural level. I think the vocals are fantastic. As is the atmosphere of the whole thing. One thing's for sure, this is some of the most abrasive sludge I've ever heard.



#37 Negative Plane - Stained Glass Revelations

There've been a lot of comparisons between this album and Deathspell Omega's Paracletus. Frankly, I liked Paracletus more. Folks have told of how genre defying these bands are, and how their reactions were basically "this is unlike anything I've ever heard before." My reaction wasn't like that. I do think Paracletus was more groundbreaking as far as innovation goes, but I don't consider either mind-blowingly ingenious. There are a lot of bands of this type bringing a new edge to black metal. Mare Cognitum's new album, The Sea Which Has Become Known, for instance, might be of interest to those who enjoy these albums. And I only mention that album because I've seen no talk about it. Nevertheless, Stained Glass Revelations is a great album. It has a very architecturally oppressive sound to it. Dark, twisted, oppressive, dense, brutal, harsh... all these accurately describe the sound that is Stained Glass Revelations. I don't think it's as awesome as their debut, but it's still awesome, just in a completely different way. There's very little in the way of catchiness or hooky riffs, but memorable leads pop up here and there, and song transitions, and some of the most intense atmosphere of any black metal out there. All these things definitely make up for the lack of catchiness.



#36 Moonlit Sailor - Colors in Stereo

Here's one of the few happy, upbeat, lifting records on this list. Ranking the best post-rock records of the year alone was extremely challenging, and somehow it feels wrong putting this one so low on the list, especially considering higher ranked post-rock albums/EP's have far less quality material than the brilliant 42 minutes that is Colors in Stereo. Nevertheless, this was a top 6 post-rock release. Signatures of this band: engaging rhythms, beautiful melodies, rich, vibrant, tightly constructed, momentous, and layered. All these things combined produce that grandiose sound that's Moonlit Sailor's unmistakable trademark. They're the best post-rock band doing this style of post-rock. I didn't think so at first, but after a few more listens, this record is better than So Close to Life.
HIGHLIGHTS: "Kodak Moment," "Freeze Frame Vision," "Weekday Escape," "Clarity"
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