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  #81  
Old 02-04-2012, 07:56 PM
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'Bout time you updated this.

Great description on # 15.
Trying my best, I've been really busy recently.

Also, I haven't posted 15 yet .
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  #82  
Old 02-04-2012, 08:11 PM
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Trying my best, I've been really busy recently.

Also, I haven't posted 15 yet .
I meant # 18...
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  #83  
Old 02-05-2012, 08:23 PM
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15) Moonsorrow - Varjoina Kuljemme Kuolleiden Maassa
This album is epic. No, not in the 15-year-old ďOMG this is so EPIC, lolĒ way, but in the true meaning of the word. Moonsorrow are a blackened folk metal band from Finland. Unlike many foreign bands metal bands, they donít bother making their album titles or writing the lyrics in English, which I think is pretty cool, even if it makes it hard to pronounce the track titles. The music does feel like folk music, as it is paced on the slower side of the spectrum. With that being, said, the music never feels empty. It is always full, with guitars that play big chords, drums that are always pounding often using double bass, and keyboard supplying chords when it isnít being used for melody. Itís is very dark and cold music, which also really helps with the epic aspect of the music. Even though it feels rather barren, the pieces always kind of end on a high note, which makes you feel like you just completed and epic quest. There are only 4 real tracks on this album, but all surpass the ten minute mark, so even without the 3 filler/transition tracks, you still get a little under an hour of epic music.
Huuto


14) Deafheaven Ė Roads to Judah
Most always when a band tries to create an atmospheric sound, they tend to keep things on the slower side of things, and let the ambiance of slow music do the job for them. Not Deafheaven. Throughout the majority of Roads to Judah, these sharp-dressed gentlemen are blasting their way through intense black metal passages. But while these guys are tremolo picking away, theyíre still creating a huge, atmospheric sound that beautifully blossoms through your speakers and takes you to a place of bliss and harmony, but also reeks of pain and sorrow. How is this accomplished? Itís the song-writing. Like most black metal bands, Deafheaven rely a lot on minor chords, to get a really sinister, evil sound. But what really helps bring the atmospheric element to the music is that these guys utilize the grim tools used for black metal, and use them in creating pieces that are very post-rock in nature. They often sit on one idea or chord progression for a long time and allow it to build up, and create an awesome crescendo, then let the song explode and come to a nice end. Of course, thatís an oversimplification of whatís going on, because there are also plenty of other things these guys do like change keys, layer guitar harmonies and such, but by essentially making post-rock songs out of black metal, they get the melancholic and sad aspect of black metal, but also the feel good vibes of post-rock. This is truly an awesome album.
Unrequited


13) Obscura Ė Omnivium
Going into 2011, I knew that Obscura were coming out with a new album, and expected it to be Top 10 material. Not too far off, but there was a time this album was very low on the list. And it was for a pretty stupid reason, but weíll get back to that later. So, progressive/tech-death metallers Obscura created my favorite technical metal piece with Cosmogenesis, so they had some pretty big shoes to fill with Omnivium. And they came pretty close to filling those shoes. This album has everything that I loved about its predecessor: Tons of great musicianship, awesome guitar melodies that overlap in a very baroque way when theyíre not harmonizing, fantastic fretless bass lines, great solos, remarkable drum work and balls out heavy riffs. I feel on this album they get a little slower at times and get really heavy, but itís not too noticeable. The vocals are more often low and guttural, which is my preference in death metal, and they also use clean vocals more often, like on Prismal Dawn. Now, back to my main gripe that I have with this record and really bothered me at first. The snare. Listen to it; it sounds horrid. Ii is a constant click-click sound that can really bother you if you pay too much attention to it. But, even with that, the matter at hand here are the songs. And the songs are awesome. They may not reach the material on Cosmogenesis, but they come close.
Euclidean Elements


12) Fen Ė Epoch
Fen enter the new epoch that is the 2010ís decade with their sophomore album, Epoch. Like most groups in the post-black metal game, Fen combines the serenity or post-rock and combines it with the raw aggression of black metal. But like many of the favorite blackgaze bands, they do more than just that. Fen also adds elements of progressive metal and folk. On many of these songs, we hear odd time signatures being toyed around with, as well as guitar solos and very innovative bass parts, which is cool because bass never really gets a chance to shine in this genre. We hear acoustic guitars being faintly strummed in the background. Occasionally, we also here some strings like violin and cello. One thing I really love about this record is that we donít only get the feeling of melancholy from their music. Sometimes, the music just feels very nostalgic, much like Alcest. The album varies a lot, and throughout the whole thing, I get vibes that remind me of Agalloch, Enslaved, Alcest, and Lantlos. This album takes influence in all that is good about black metal and post-black metal and spreads it across 8 beautifully sculpted songs, and that makes for the best post-black metal album of 2011. Fen have started this new Epoch with an incredible album, and Iím sure they have plenty more to come.
Carrier of Echoes


11) Loss Ė Despond
Funeral Doom is another genre of heavy music that is quickly becoming a favorite of mine. While I was listening to Ahab first, Loss are the band that really sparked my interest in the genre. You could say Iíve always liked melancholic music, but the stuff on Despond is a completely different animal. Loss takes the essence of pain and puts it in a sonic environment with this record. The music they create seeps sadness, depression, and even suicidal tendencies, and they use these negative feelings to create really epic, strong, and beautiful doom metal that is majestic, while still keeping the overall vibe very depressing and lonely. The music is also very creepy. The guitars and bass feed off really slow, minor chords and the drums follow the same slow, eerie vibe that the rest of the band is producing. The band also throws in organs, and even some of the interludes haunting pieces. Also, I canít remember who said it, but somebody on here said that the vocals sounded like a tomb being opened, and thatís extremely true. Itís hard to believe that these sounds are being emitted from a human being. The lyrics on this album only drive the overall depressing, suicidal vibe over the top. What I think is so great about this album, is the fact that the guys in Loss take the most dreaded feeling humans are capable of, pain, and turn it into something really extravagant, majestic, and beautiful. One might think that listening to music such as this would make you depressed, but it doesnít really. I think the music almost kind of works like a flu vaccine does. It gives your body a dose of the flu, in this case depression, then your body builds immunity and then can fight the real thing off. So fear not people, this slab of epic funeral doom wonít make you depressed, but itíll keep you from it. Fans of the slow, the melancholic, and the heavy, pick up Lossí Despond if have not already.
Cut Up, Depressed and Alon
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  #84  
Old 02-06-2012, 09:19 AM
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This is the first list I've seen with EITS on it.
Mine will.

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24) The Seven Mile Journey – Notes for Synthesis
There was a time where this album was number 2 on my mist, above albums that are still in my Top 10. So then why did it drop so low? Here’s the story behind it...
It moved, but in the opposite direction for me.

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18) Bloodiest – Descent


17) Disma – Toward The Megalith


16) Red Fang – Murder the Mountains
Loved 'em all.

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15) Moonsorrow - Varjoina Kuljemme Kuolleiden Maassa
This album is epic.
Indeed. I just checked it out recently, and much to my surprise, I really liked it. I don't know what I was expecting, but whatever. I'm gonna have to add this to my "Would Have Probably Loved This If I Had Had a Chance to Listen to It More" list.

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14) Deafheaven – Roads to Judah



13) Obscura – Omnivium
Loved 'em both.

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11) Loss – Despond
Funeral Doom is another genre of heavy music that is quickly becoming a favorite of mine.
Not yet, for me. I'm getting there slowly, I think, but I really have to be in the mood for this kind of music, I find. It's not something I can just listen to anytime. This album is obviously a grand example of what the genre is all about, though. It's definitely not a feel-good album, that's for fucking sure.
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Last edited by Natrlhi; 02-06-2012 at 09:22 AM.
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  #85  
Old 02-06-2012, 04:34 PM
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Not yet, for me. I'm getting there slowly, I think, but I really have to be in the mood for this kind of music, I find. It's not something I can just listen to anytime. This album is obviously a grand example of what the genre is all about, though. It's definitely not a feel-good album, that's for fucking sure.
I agree with you on this. I suppose it can be different for different people but I've been going through a rather low phase in life and I feel I've been able to appreciate this album more because of it.
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  #86  
Old 02-06-2012, 04:55 PM
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15) Moonsorrow - Varjoina Kuljemme Kuolleiden Maassa
A really solid album I think they achieved a lot of what they wanted to on this one especially the atmospheric elements. Huuto is the standout track for me too

Quote:

14) Deafheaven Ė Roads to Judah
Another good pick and a fair description too. Although it can sound chaotic at times they capture the melancholy of the sound they wanted to create pretty well through this record. Excited to see them live with Alcest!


Quote:

13) Obscura Ė Omnivium
Obscura have become one of my favorite bands of late so I'm pleased to see this here I agree with you that I'd still rate Cosmogenesis to be more enjoyable than Omnivium unlike a lot of people actually.




Quote:

11) Loss Ė Despond
Always nice to see some love for Loss! Especially after this album being in the works for seven years. Generally people advise not to listen to music such as this when you're depressed fearing it could make you worse but as I said earlier I was going through a low point in life lately and I found this album helped me face my problems with a sense of inexplicable strength! Cut up is probably one of the saddest songs I've heard. Another standout for me on this is "Silent and Completely Overcome" where Brett's clean vocals really complement Mike's otherworldly gutteral vocals.
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  #87  
Old 02-06-2012, 05:39 PM
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It's great to see my top metal album of the year getting some love.

When I first listened to it, as soon as I got to Open Veins To A Curtain Closed, I thought it was going to be an impenetrable monster of an album I'd wear myself out getting through. But as time passed I found it so easy to listen to. (Which might say more about me than the album, I'm not sure). But I've listened to it so much it's like "easy listening" to me at this point.

The last 2:45 of Silent And Completely Overcome is so damn emotional words can't even describe it. And Brett's vocals in the last 1:00 are just icing on the cake.

Phenomenal record.
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  #88  
Old 02-07-2012, 06:14 PM
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Top 10 Live Acts of 2011

Honorable Mentions
Powerglove
Tesseract
Dispirit
Giant Squid
Red Fang

10. Yob w/Dark Castle, Dispirit, Worm Ouroboros. @ 924 Gilman

The main reason I went to this show were for the openers, but I left digging Yob the most. What can I say? They're the heaviest band I've seen since Sleep. The absolutley destroyed the place with their awesome riffs.
Original review

9. Ozzy Osbourne w/Slash @ HP Pavilion

Ozzy is a mad man. He's extremely entertaining to watch, and he still sounds great. Along with an awesome band, and a good sense of what the people want to hear, Ozzy was a great time.

Sorry, no original review available

8. Soundgarden w/The Mars Volta @ Bill Graham Center

I wasn't really all too excited so see Soundgarden at first, but after being blown away by The Mars Volta after being so sure they'd just suck again, I had nothing but good feelings about Soundgarden. And for good reason too. They played all of my favorites tunes, and plenty of other really heavy material to accompany that. Cornell sounded great, and the rest of the band ripped it up.
Original review

7. Protest the Hero w/Maylene and the Sons of Disaster, Tesseract @ Slim's

After putting out another awesome record, I was really excited to see Protest the Hero. They were an amazingly energetic band. Once they started, the crowd erupted. They played a lot of my favorite tunes and Rody was hilarious as usual. Wish they played longer than an hour though...
Original review

6. Cormorant w/ In Virtue, Solaria, other local bands @ The Phoenix Theater

Cormorant at my all time favorite venue. How was I not going to absolutley love this? While they may have played longer when I saw them earlier in the year with Giant Squid, I actually recognized the some of the songs they played this time around. With a set that included at least one song off each of their releases, they blazed through some of the best 30 minutes of 2011.
Original review

5. Symphony X w/Powerglove, Blackguard @ Regency Ballroom

The main reason I went to this show was so see Powerglove, a band I had been dying to see for 4 years. And while their set was awesome, Symphony X was much, much better. Michael Romeo and Russell Allen are incredible, as is the rest of the group. Hearing them rip threw the Odyssey was also magnificent
Original review

4. Foo Fighters w/Cage the Elephant, Mariachi El Bronx @ Oracle Arena

Foo Fighters were just incredibley fun. They played almost 3 hours, blasting through extremely catchy rock tunes and had everybody in the crowd singing along. Dave Grohl is a great showman.
Original review

3. Between the Buried and Me w/Animals as Leaders, Tesseract @ The Fillmore

Between the Buried and Me are put on a extremely captivating show. Running threw 10 minute + songs left and right, they showcased both great musicianship and showman ship. Hearing Viridian/White Walls live was just awesome.
Original review

2. Judas Priest w/BLS, Thin Lizzy @ Concord Pavilion

It was sad that this would be the only time that I get to see Judas Priest, but the show was intense. The band can still play as good as ever, and Rob Halford is just a something other than human. His voice is still incredible. They covered material from their whole discography, had a great stage show, and a great set-list. I will remember this night forever.
Original review

1. Mastodon w/DEP and Red Fang @ The Warfield

It shouldn't come as much of a surprise that my favorite band was my favorite performance from 2011. They played a great set that covered all of their full-lenghts and this was probably the best I've heard them. Something that made this special was I didn't know the setlist before hand, so it was great to be surprised by songs like I Am Ahab. Phenomenal performance!
Original review
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  #89  
Old 02-11-2012, 03:44 PM
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10) Symphony X Ė Iconoclast
After being blown away by their live set and falling in love with their 1997 masterpiece, The Divine Wings of Tragedy, I had at lot to look forward to with Symphony Xís Iconoclast. And did it deliver! I love the amazing musicianship that Symphony X showcases in Iconoclast. Michael Romeo is a freak of nature who writes awesome riffs in many different forms, whether itís heavy traditional metal like in Dehumanized, prog/tech riffs that melt the brain in Iconoclast, or catch power metal lines in The End Of Innocence, heís got it all down pat. And the man is can play a guitar solo like no other. Every solo is memorable and drops my jaw. Russell Allenís voice really shines in a lot of the music. His voice is as majestic as ever and fits every mood the album goes through. Michael Pinnella solidified his spot as my favorite keyboard player in metal with his work on this album. He does a great job with adding symphonic elements in the music, providing harmonies and his solos are incredible. Mike and Jason make an incredible rhythm section, as each create very intriquite parts and allow their technique to shine while getting the job done of keeping the songs tight. But overall, I think my favorite thing about this album is that itís just plain heavier than the rest of the material Iíve heard from Symphony X. With a combination of incredible musicianship, catchy tunes and relentless heaviness, Symphony X achieved something really incredible here.
Iconoclast


9) Yob Ė Atma
My interest in Yob was another result of an awesome live performance. As stated previously, their set was the heaviest Iíve seen since Sleep. I had started to listen to them before the show, and was impressed with what they had to offer. Really heavy, slow stoner doom metal that rocks, rolls, and melts your face. Atma is another great installment in Yobís discography that provides that and sum. Mike Scheidtís riffs are absolutely pulverizing, and his vocals are quite unique and have some range. They range from a low growl to a very Ozzy-like sound, and those two styles fit perfectly with such heavy music. And what really puts the icing on the cake for the monolithic riffs, is an awesome rhythm section. The bass adds an awesome low end and the drums just pound along with the riffs so effortlessly, itís amazing. So, the combination of heavy-as-fuck riffs, great vocal work and a thumping rhythm sections makes Atma a force to reckoned with, and the heaviest record of 2011.
Atma


8) Grayceon Ė All We Destroy
Grayceon are a very unique band, not just sonically, but as a whole. First of all, thereís a female member . Also, instead of a bassist, Grayceon uses cello as the low end. That being the case, two out of the three members sit while playing. And, the guitarist doesnít use a pick. So like most recent Bay Area metal bands, this group is a bit on the quirky side, and theyíre also an extremely talented band.

Grayceon are classical metal, not in the sense that they play the kind of music that was first considered metal, but their music is very much like classical music. Thatís not to say they sound completely like classical, but thereís an obvious Baroque influence with the intertwining melodies that the guitar/cello trade off. Along with this Baroque feel, they band incorporates elements of progressive and sludge metal, to create a sound that canít be heard from any other band. Jackieís cello playing is just out of this world and she uses her extremely versatile voice on this record, ranging from high vocals, mid vocals and growls. The guitar playing is also quite marvelous, is it ranges from plucking out chords, ravaging through riffs, and much more. The drumming on this album is really cool, and you hear everything from blastbeats to very doom metal-esque drumming. Songwriting is also very key with this band, as they write very long pieces, the longest being the 16 minute, We Can. Many of the songs feel like theyíre written in different movements, which again shows influence from classical music. Even though most arenít super long, they feel quite epic. The music here is kick ass and I recommend it for anybody who takes interest in prog, sludge, and classical.
Shellmounds


7) Mastodon Ė The Hunter
Who is ready for a little essay?

Ages ago, in the year 2010, a good friend of ours, WolverineKills, posted on his now defunct blog that Mastodon were in the works of a new album, using many excess riffs from the Blood Mountain session. Later down the road when the album was closer to being released, Mastodon would compare the new album to Leviathan, seeing as it is more stripped down, but the former would be the truest in the end. But both stories imply that there was change going on in Camp Dong. This was seen at the very beginning of announcing the new album, with the album artwork. They ditched prior artist Paul Romano, and went with a very different style with AJ Fosik for the album cover. Then was the announcement that The Hunter wasnít a concept album. The next step was the release of the track titles. Blasteroid, Stargasm, Bedazzled Fingenails. These arenít names of Mastodon track titles; these are names of scenecore track titles. Finally, the release of the official single, Curl of the Burl, was an obvious sign of change. Unlike Black Tongue which was just a heavier CTS feel, Curl of the Burl is a catchy, radio rock song. Yeah, itís stripped down, but that ainít no Leviathan like they said. When this was released, I started to have my doubts. Had Mastodon reached their artistic peak on Crack the Skye? Was The Hunter going to be their equivalent to Metallicaís Black Album? Fortunately, when the full album was released and I was able to listen to the whole thing, my doubts vanished and I was a happy camper.

So, yes Ė The Hunter is definitely a more stripped down version of Mastodon. They abandon the 10+ minute songs we hear on Crack the Skye, and trade it in for short songs. In my opinion, the majority of the material on this album most resembles Blood Mountain, but there are elements of all their past works here. Songs like Spectrelight ooze of the heavy sludge that we heard on Remission/Leviathan, and tracks like Black Tongue still has the heavy, atmospheric sound that a lot of Crack the Skye has. Also, tracks like The Hunter and The Sparrow are very similar to the odes to Joseph Merrick we found on their first three full lengths. But it in full, I think the bulk of this is like Blood Mountain. Blasteroid and the main riff in Octopus Has No Friends have the same spastic vibe of Bladecatcher; Stargasm has the really spacey feel of Sleeping Giant; and All the Heavy Lifting has the similar constant 16th note riffs that are on Crystal Skull. But even with the album being most similar to Blood Mountain, itís not like it much. Blood Mountain overall has a really reckless, untamed vibe, but The Hunter is a lot more tame and simpler. Over all, The Hunter isnít a very complex and highly imaginative record. Itís simple to the point and a little poppy for Mastodon. Itís like the guys kind of pushed these songs out with out much effort and just used very similar molds for each song. The Hunter is Mastodon on auto-pilot.

But with that said, a lot of this stuff is fantastic. Specrelight is the heaviest Mastodon have been in half a decade; Stargasm is a perfect mesh of spacey prog rock and heavy sludge; the opening riff in Octopus is one of the craziest riffs Brent has written in his career, Thickeningís intro sees Mastodon writing something oceanic for the first time since Leviathan, All The Heavy Lifting showcases the heaviness or Remission and proggy goodness of Blood Mountain; Curl of the Burl is catchy as a motherfucker, and The Sparrow is on par with the beauty of the rest of the closing tracks of their discography. Sure, Mastodon may have been on auto-pilot on The Hunter, but Mastodon on auto-pilot is better than most bands going full speed, completely concentrated on the road.
Spectrelight


6) Subrosa Ė No Help For The Mighty Ones
Hailing from a land where unorthodox is probably a dirty word, itís interesting to see band create such an unorthodox form of sludge/doom metal. Much like Grayceon, Subrosa have a very unique line-up. 3/5 members are female , all three of which we hear both instrumentally and vocally, two of the girls play violin, which act as lead as the rest of the band is kept as a rhythm section.

What really makes this album is unique and incorporates many things into their music not only make the music heavy, but sinister and abstract. The easiest to point out is the use of violins. Not only are they used for melodies, but theyíre also used to create evil shrieking sounds that help create a really creep atmosphere in a lot of the music. Also, the violins vary a lot in sound. The violinists switch between bowing their violins and sometimes going pizzicato, plucking the strings to create twisted melodies. Also, I donít know if itís distortion that helps, but there are times where violins sound like horns. Now we focus on the rhythm section. The guitar and bass are for the most part uniform in what they do, but it helps create a thicker, heavier sound, because thereíd be too much going on if guitar and bass acted like the violins and played different parts. The guitar and bass are what really makes this album so heavy. The riffs alone are awesome, but the tones these guys get are just filthy and gritty, which really compliment down-tuned guitars. The drumming on this album is amazingly executed. They pummeling and heavy, and the drummer doesnít play the same beat twice, which isnít something weíre used to in doom metal. Now to the vocal department. Subrosa has a lead vocalist, but there are obviously 3 members that contribute a lot vocally. The two violinist provide sweet vocal harmonies, and that is best showcased on the a cappella piece House Carpenter. So, with soaring violins that are extremely versatile, fine vocalists, the guitars tuned down low and the tempos kept slow, Subrosa create one of the heaviest, sinister and abstract albums that even the mighty ones would have a hard time competing with.
Beneath the Crown
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Old 02-13-2012, 12:27 AM
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Thumbs up

SX are absurdly good live.
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