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1 Feb 2012, 21:06

The mini-reviews actually serve the purpose of notes to myself, so take them as such.

Top Ten

1. Saint Vitus - Lillie: F-65
2. Jess and The Ancient Ones - Jess and The Ancient Ones
3. Christian Mistress - Possession
4. Overkill - The Electric Age
5. Alcest - Les Voyages de l'Ame
6. Kreator - Phantom Antichrist
7. Pallbearer - Sorrow and Extinction
8. Bunker 66 - Infernö Interceptörs
9. My Dying Bride - A Map of all Our Failures
10. Aura Noir - Out to Die

Not Ranked



Great


  • Alcest - Les Voyages de l'Ame * post *
  • Christian Mistress - Possession * heavy metal *
  • Asphyx - Deathhammer * death * ~ solid album from the dutch death metal masters. Not much innovation or shift in style, but if it's good, why ruin it? Being a CF fanboy, I greatly appreciated the bonus "Os Abysmi Vel Daath" cover.
  • Aura Noir - Out to Die * black/thrash * ~ as expected, a very good effort by AN. The album displays a lot of creativity and aggression, and shouldn't be avoided by black, thrash and black/thrash fans. It's all about the riffs! *omnomnom*
  • Overkill - The Electric Age * thrash * ~ following the direction established by "Ironbound", this album thrashes left and right. It's filled with meaty, riff-tastic and well written tunes, so let's see some highlights: def. the singles "Electric Rattlesnake" and "Wish You Were Dead", and I'll also throw in "Save Yourself" and "All Over but the Shouting".
  • Black Breath - Sentenced to Life * death * ~ Great progression from the EP to the first album to the second. Energetic, fun, more death metal influenced than the debut. Enough said, go and give it a listen!
  • Hail Spirit Noir - Pneuma * experimental black * ~ Excellent debut from a Greek band with quite an eclectic style (they've been labeled as prog/psychedelic/black - though I wouldn't use tags so liberally). The veins of this music are filled with black metal, but its delivery is drowned in a potpourri of melody and folky and symphonic elements, good-type-of-weird solos. Nevertheless, you'll feel the stench of a dying soul amidst the exotic aromas, and you WILL shiver in horror, even while knowing it's all a dream. Highlights: "Let Your Devil Come Inside", "Against the Curse, We Dream".
  • Saint Vitus - Lillie: F-65 * trad doom * ~ Album of the year so far for me. What a great return from the doom pioneers of Saint Vitus! I was a little disappointed by the last track that sounds filler-ish, but everything else is trad doom metal at its finest. Highlights: "The Bleeding Ground", "Blessed Night".
  • Barren Earth - The Devil’s Resolve * melodic death * ~ I gotta confess, it's the first time I'm listening to these guys, but man, oh man, do they make some good melodic death metal. Forget any negative experience with (pseudo-)melodeath and give this album a try because it's catchy, diverse and aggressive at the same time. I have to explore more material by this band.
  • Jess and the Ancient Ones - Jess and the Ancient Ones * occult rock * ~ Comparable to The Devil's Blood and Jex Thoth, the Finns have produced an album that rivals the best of the "occult rock revival". It is filled with melody, passion, fire and ice. Not as distorted and gloomy as Jex Thoth, more keyboard focused than The Devil's Blood, more haunting and melodic than Blood Ceremony and with very good female vocals, JaTAO leave a distinctive trail in the revival's general trend. Highlights: almost all really, but personal favorites are Twilight Witchcraft and Come Crimson Death.
  • Kreator - Phantom Antichrist * thrash * ~ I had negative expectations about this album and after 2-3 listens I would have included it in the Good category, but it has something similar tot Sodom's "In War and Pieces" that just doesn't let you do it. It's very catchy and aggressive, and although it does get a little boring towards the end (last 2 tracks), it somehow maintains consistency. Expect good modern Kreator! Highlights: eponymous track, , The Few, The Proud, The Broken and Your Heaven, My Hell.
  • Ketzer - Endzeit Metropolis *thrash/black* ~ A very unorthodox sophomore album from Ketzer. One might dismiss them as Destroyer 666 clones, but there's so much going on in these guys' music, it's impossible not to acknowledge the awesome riffs and songwriting (just listen to "Aesthetics and Ecstasy").
  • Candlemass - Psalms for the Dead * trad doom * ~ The farewell album? Well, it's a really good one. I really enjoyed "Dancing in the Temple (of the Mad Queen Bee)" and "Black as Time", I need to listen to it more though.
  • My Dying Bride - A Map of All Our Failures *doom*
  • Bunker 66 - Infernö Interceptörs *black/thrash*
  • Destruction - Spiritual Genocide *thrash*
  • Windhand - Windhand *stoner/doom*
  • Seamount - Earthmother IV *trad doom*
  • Pallbearer - Sorrow and Extinction *trad doom*


Good

  • Les DiscretsAriettes oubliées * post rock *
  • Swallow the Sun -The Emerald Forest and the Blackbird * death/doom *
  • Nekromantheon - Rise, Vulcan Spectre * black/thrash *
  • Xandria - Neverworld's End * gothic *~ catchy, no-surprises, honest gothic / symphonic metal album. Although Lisa has left the band and will be missed by the fans, the new vox is actually pretty good.
  • PilgrimMisery Wizard * trad doom *
  • Anathema - Weather Systems * atmospheric rock * ~ The band continues in the style of "We're here because we're here", and IMO they do a good job too. However, I am strongly biased by an interview with Danny where he kept describing the atmosphere and themes of songs in terms of other song titles. It was as if Danny's words were turning back the head of Orpheus, such that the album's potential for profoundness and expressiveness disappeared faster than Eurydice back to the Underworld. I really enjoyed some of the tunes, and the songwriting was inspired, but alas, I'll revisit this material once I mentally erase that damned interview.
  • Drudkh - Eternal Turn of the Wheel * post black *~ Despite the almost ubiquitous bashing of "Handful of Stars", I really enjoyed it and have fond memories of listening to "Towards the Light", as well as the other three proper songs . This album maintains the same direction, but somehow it doesn't impress me as much. It's borderline "Meh" actually, but I'll leave it here for now and give it a few more listens before a final verdict.
  • Angel Witch - As Above, So Below * heavy * ~ An enjoyable, but not memorable album. The vocals are a bit too weird for my taste (though I don't mind Manilla Road style vocals and love Cirith Ungol in that respect). The stand-outs for me are: "Gebura" (should've added an "h" at the end if they are referring to the sephirot) and "Brainwashed".
  • Paradise Lost - Tragic Idol * gothic * ~ Perhaps people had high hopes for this album, DDU-FUU was really well received from what I've read - though it didn't do much for me, same as this one doesn't really tickle me in any special place. I'd take Requiem any day over TI, or DDU-FUU, or any other album in the modern catalog of PL for that matter. The only song that seems to shine is "Honesty in Death", and the rest of the songs are good, but quite forgettable imo.
  • Unleashed - Odalheim * death * ~ The new Unleashed misses the Great category by a straw. Its comparable to its direct predecessor, "As Yggdrasil Trembles", and the band is known for being quite constant in terms of style. Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining about it, but it feels like there's a little something missing, despite the energy, riffs and warcries. Maybe it's because I've played Unleashed too many times over the years. :-)
  • Gorod - A Perfect Absolution * tech death * I'd name this album "A Perfect Second Half", because, weirdly enough, the second half of the album is much better than the first. When I listened to it backwards (in terms of track order, lol) it made much more sense. This is the only reason it isn't in the great category. "Varangian Paradise" and "Tribute of Blood" are mo-nu-men-tal tracks that I imagine will have a long life in my playlist. As pointed out in the comments, it's definitely not insipid tech death, but a progressive and inspired effort.
  • Kathaarsys - Rara Vez * prog black *
  • Crystal Viper - Crimen Excepta * heavy *
  • Huntress - Spell Eater * heavy * ~ Interesting debut from Huntress, but I feel their EP ("Off with her Head") was more promising. It is riffed with fillers, sorry, filled with riffs, most of them interesting or at least rocking, but the element of "wow! this makes me want to headbang so hard" (or "air guitar" or something) is missing. It is NOT a boring album, and being the debut, the band has plenty of time to evolve. About the vocals, they are nice, she CAN sing, but obviously they're not very innovative or super-duper proficient. And the obligatory mention of big, juicy boobs. That is all for now.
  • Delain - We Are the Others * gothic *
  • Enthroned - Obsidium * black *
  • Grand Magus - The Hunt * heavy/doom *
  • Witch Mountain - Cauldron of the Wild * doom * ~ very blues-y doom. I really liked it, but I didn't hook me enough to include it under 'great'.
  • Testament - Dark Roots of Earth * thrash * ~ I enjoyed this one, usually Testament bores me.
  • Azoic - Gateways * black * ~ The band plays black, with a little death, and a spoonful of je-ne-sais-quoi. It's interesting, some of the songs really grab you, it is consistent and I like its atmosphere. Despite this, many parts are easily forgettable.
  • Natur - Head of Death * heavy * ~ Good album, but a little underwhelming after the awesome demo.
  • Turbonegro - Sexual Harassment * "death-punk" * ~ The new singer is all right, though Hank was much better. The album is ok I guess, I really liked "You give me worms".
  • Abnormality - Contaminating The Hive Mind *prog death*
  • Wintersun - Time I *melodic death*
  • Daylight Dies - A Frail Becoming *doom/death*
  • Tankard - A Girl Called Cerveza *thrash*
  • Master - The New Elite *death*


Meh

  • Anneke van Giersbergen - Everything Is Changing * rock *
  • Eluveitie - Helvetios * melodic death *
  • Spawn of Possession - Incurso * tech death * ~ the side of tech death that I don't get. After 4 songs, I liked some bits and pieces, but my brain was unable to solve the whole puzzle. Also, the sterile and dispassionate style that tech death often gets bashed for is a showstopper for me on "Incurso" (not a fan of the band, and I've limited knowledge of the genre).

Comentarios

  • Mrozikos667

    If dislike the "dispassionate style that tech death often gets bashed for", then just wait until you hear new Gorod, no such thing on that album! Just 100% awesome :)

    24 Abr 2012, 9:53
  • Hermes_Thoth

    Thank you for your comment. Gorod is in the pipeline, right after Paradise Lost, Unleashed and Saint Vitus.

    24 Abr 2012, 10:08
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