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Cormorant -- San Francisco, CA -- December 20th, 2014
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  #11  
Old 12-31-2013, 02:39 PM
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48.The Story So Far-What You Don't See

The Story So Far had the dubious task of following a landmark pop-punk release in Under and Soil Dirt. Their second full-length, What You Don't See, doesn't even come close to touching Under Soil and Dirt but it still has enough of its own charm to be a respectable release. Initially, I was very disappointed with this record because there wasn't as much energy or punchy choruses this time around. To be honest, it wasn't until I saw The Story So Far play these songs live last month that it started to click with me. There's still plenty of the melodic guitar crunch and catchy hooks, they're just more subtle here than on Under Soil and Dirt Nonetheless, The Story So Far is still amongst the kings of the pop-punk revival and I'm sure they can improve on What You Don't See on their next record.

Standout Tracks
1.All Wrong
2.Stifled
3.The Glass
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  #12  
Old 12-31-2013, 02:49 PM
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Really didn't like What You Don't See when it came out, especially because I picked up the new Man Overboard and TWY albums too and I liked those a lot more, but at the end of the year I actually am loving this album hard.
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  #13  
Old 12-31-2013, 06:21 PM
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47.Last Chance to Reason-Level 3

It's a shame that this will probably be the final Last Chance to Reason record since vocalist Mike Lassard joined The Contortionist and a majority of the lineup left after recording this album. These guys have been one of the most exciting progressive metal acts to emerge in the past few years and Level 3 continues the trend. This record is more melodic and less technical than their earlier stuff, giving Lassard a lot of time shine vocally and he rises to the occasion. Tracks like "The Artist", "Rebirth" and "The Escapist" are amongst the most stunning vocal lines he's ever delivered. The music was definitely more textured and fluid in the past, but the vocals have never been better making, helping Level 3 overcomes its flaws and be a pretty damn impressive record.

Standout Tracks
1.The Artist
2.Rebirth
3.Adrift II: A Vision Ends
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  #14  
Old 01-01-2014, 10:53 AM
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46.Earl Sweatshirt-Doris


In the world of hip-hop in 2013, it's hard to find an album that was as hyped as Earl Sweatshirt's Doris. All his fans wanted to hear how he would follow up his highly-acclaimed mixtape Earl, especially after his highly-publicized stint in Samoa. Doris is a confusing album for me because there are some aspects of the new Earl Sweatshirt that I absolutely love and other that I don't. When Doris hits, it's an absolute slam-dunk. "Burgundy", "Sunday" and "Chum" delve into emotional side of Sweatshirt that he's never exposed before. He's only 19, but he talks about themes like depression and his lack of a relationship with his father just as eloquently and intelligently as someone twice his age. There's also a couple of sick tracks ("Hive", "Centurion") that serve as a more refined and subtle throwback to the violent shit that he used to rap about when he was 15. The problem with Doris is that for every great song, there is filler to kill the momentum. Both Tyler, the Creator feature tracks ("Sasquatch, "Whoa") are wildly out-of-place for this album's more mature theme and feature probably the two worst verses Tyler has ever done. It also doesn't help that Earl's new flow is pretty stagnant. It's not that there isn't any emotion displayed, it's just that Earl's new flow doesn't have the same punch that his old one did. He should definitely stick with the more mature themes he explores on this record, he just needs to rap with the same intensity that he did in the past to really drive the power of these songs home. The lyricism is fantastic and there is a solid number of great tracks here, but if Sweatshirt wants to live to his immense potential, he needs to make an album that is consistent and passionate throughout.

Standout Tracks
1.Hive
2.Burgundy
3.Sunday
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  #15  
Old 01-01-2014, 02:16 PM
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45.Big K.R.I.T.-King Remembered in Time


Big K.R.I.T's newest mixtape year doesn't reinvent the wheel, but it's another collection of solid, fun and thoughtful southern hip-hop with a ton of great beats and hooks from the current ringleader of dirty south hip-hop.

Standout Tracks
1.Good 2Getha
2.REM
3.King Without a Crown
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  #16  
Old 01-01-2014, 03:16 PM
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44.Coheed and Cambria-The Afterman: Descension


After their triumphant return to form last year with The Afterman: Ascension , Coheed and Cambria has regressed a bit with the second-part of the Afterman saga. This album is a lot more experimental than its predecessor and some of the experiments work better than others (the poppy synths on "Number City" are sick, but folk-esque ballad "2's My Favorite 1" didn't work for me at all.) Coheed is still at their best when making grand-scale prog anthems and we get a few of those across the record in "Key Entity Extraction V: Sentry the Defiant", "Gravity's Union" and "The Hard Sell". The Afterman: Descension still gets a lot right, it's just not as strong on the whole as the first half of the double album.

Standout Tracks
1.Key Entity Extraction V: Sentry the Defiant
2.The Hard Sell
3.Gravity's Union
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  #17  
Old 01-01-2014, 05:05 PM
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43.Born of Osiris-Tommorow We Die Alive


I was curious to see how Born of Osiris fared on their follow-up to The Discovery since lead guitarist/main reason the album was so special Jason Richardson had left the band and the answer is just fine for the most part. It's not quite as technical or interesting as what Richardson wrote on The Discovery, but there's still a lot of nice riffing/soloing and atmospheric guitar work from remaining guitarist Lee McKinney. The synths are also really cool and catchy and perfectly match the spacey vibe the rest of the band band lays down (when they're not rearing into dubstep territory like they do on "Divergency" and "Absolution"). It's not quite the powerhouse that The Discovery was, but Born of Osiris is still amongst the finest deathcore bands around.

Standout Tracks
1.Illusionist
2.Vengeance
3.Exhilarate
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  #18  
Old 01-02-2014, 05:44 PM
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42.Finntroll-Blodsvept


Folk metal is really hit-or-miss for me. There needs to be something to distinguish it from the pack for it to click with me and Fintroll has that with the heavy black-metal influence on their music. Blodsvept, like the rest of Finntroll's music is really evil-sounding thanks to the black-metal vocals yet still fun as hell thanks to the instrumentation. This record is just a giant demonic party record and I absolutely love it.

Standout Tracks
1.Rosets Kung
2.Ett Folk Forbannat
3.Haxbrygd
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  #19  
Old 01-02-2014, 05:51 PM
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41.Crossfaith-Apocalyze

Holy shit, I found a trancecore band that I actually like. On Apocalyze, Crossfaith takes a very stale genreand injects it with a much-needed spark of creativity. A lot of bands in the genre use the same tired formula of auto-tune, dubstep beats, frail screams and emo-inspired clean vocals catering towards the teenage girl audience. Aside from a couple of brief wub-wub brostep moments early on in the record with tracks like "We Are the Future" and "Hounds of the Apocalypse", Crossfaith (thankfully) does none of that and reaches outside the stereotypes of the genre for inspiration. The vocals are very much rooted in melodic death metal, there is a killer sense of groove that is reminiscent of old-school metalcore, the drums are explosive and loaded with crazy fills and the synths are mostly catchy and fun. It's very refreshing to see an act produce metal with a heavy electronic influence that isn't gimmicky or watered-down. This is some legitimate, classic metalcore that intertwines perfectly with the electronic elements to produce something that will stick with you and warrants multiple listens.

Standout Tracks
1.The Evolution
2.Gala Hala (Burn Down the Floor)
3.Scarlett
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  #20  
Old 01-02-2014, 06:08 PM
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40.Vince Staples & Larry Fisherman-Stolen Youth LP

Vince Staples first appeared on my radar with his spotlight-stealing guest verse on Earl Sweatshirt's "Hive". Staples proves that verse isn't a fluke with his sophomore mixtape Stolen Youth. The subject matter Staples tackles is far from new ground (poverty, selling drugs, violence of the ghetto etc.) but he raps with such a raw intensity that it makes you pay attention. Bolstering Staple's fiery rhymes is the brilliant production from Mac Miller (under the pseudonym Larry Fisherman.) Miller's beats are psychedelic and subtle yet still have this edge that fits Staples's delivery perfectly ("Stuck in My Ways is one of the best beats of the year.) At only 20 years old and with all the big-name hip-hop acts he associates with, Vince Staples has a long, promising career ahead of him.

Standout Tracks
1.Stuck in my Ways
2.Guns & Roses
3.Thought About You
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