Further, it appears that during the year, I have trodden quite deeper into elitist territory, which totally fucking rules. I now weed out the bad ones faster, eat posers for breakfast and scoff condescendingly at anything that is even remotely not metal in its roots or bearing.All I need now is a jacket with a Tirant Sin patch and I'm all set to punch a few motherfuckers out.Right then , onto my favourite releases of 2006.
ok, first the honourable mentions before we get onto the torchbearers :
Deicide - [album]The Stench Of Redemption [/album]
I can see this will raise a few eyebrows for not having made my top 10.And at this point, I would like to point out how wrong I was for having said on this very same journal that "I do not have very high hopes for the new Deicide.Deicide have hit back at critics and how!The album is a blistering volcano of terrifying brutality, interspersed with exquisite soloing and structuring richly reminescent of Vital Remains, although infinitely more precise and crushing. I mean after all, who's the pioneer here?Ralph Santolla and Jack Owens' inclusion into the ranks have turned Deicide into a raging, veritable panzer of humongously destructive proportions.Ralph Santolla's soloing is simply delicious and although Owens isn't faring too badly for himself, he is positively outplayed by Santolla. THIS IS DEATH METAL! \m/
Death Breath- Stinking Up The Night
this IS old school, motherfuckers!there is a none-too-subtle Autopsy influence especially on songs like Dragged Through The Mud. (which, I daresay, at the risk of heresy might not have been out of place on Mental Funeral itself). the whole muddy, cheap (and I can't help saying it over and over again!!!) DIIIRRRTTTTAAAAAHHH style of death metal made so popular by Autopsy/ BatS era Morbid Angel and more recently honed to murderous precision by bands like Abscess and Anatomia is duplicated to ripping voracity by Death Breath.a definite must listen for any death metal fan.
Funerot - Invasion From The Death Dimension
think Speak Your Peace era Cryptic Slaughter, only nastier and heavier.I am not such a huge fan of crossover meself but guitar driven riff fests like these are not to be missed.
Belphegor - Pestapokalypse VI
Belphegor seem to be putting out good albums with terrifying consistency these days. This is an excellent follow-up to last years' brilliant "The Goatreich Fleshcult"
Amon Amarth - With Oden On Our Side
well OK, Fate Of Norns was slightly weak but HUGELY enjoyable nonetheless.With Oden By Our side marches grandly into outright melodic death territory while still retaining the epic viking feel that Amon Amarth made a name for themselves with.
Mastodon - Blood Mountain
alright, usually if Mastodon out out an album, I would expect it to be somewhere in my top 10 for the year. Blood Mountain has found wide critical acclaim but somehow, I cannot help but feel slightly cheated when I compare this against Leviathan. the sheer thrashy pace of the mighty Mastodon has given way to a lot of doom elements.I must confess, I still enjoyed songs like Sleeping Giant and Capillarian Quest but overall, Blood Mountain does not score as a Mastodon album.
Saprogenic - Ichneumonid
Sinister - Afterburner
yes!after going through a creative lean patch coupled with having a whiny vocalist doing no justice to the band, Sinister finally woke up, kicked out Rachel, found a good vocalist in Aad Kloosterwaard and returned to the good old ways of death metal.
The Sword - Age Of Winters
I am a sucker for most doom/stoner music and The Sword's Age Of Winters excels in being just that.a very enjoyably competent stoner/doom album chock full of groovy,distorted basslines and catchy guitar riffs with a great vocalist to boot.
Toxocara- Imminent Repulsion
Bal-Sagoth - The Chthonic Chronicles
the album is more eclectic than their previous works.and one significantly notable deviation from their earlier sound is that the album is more guitar driven as opposed to a generally keyboard driven melody which usually punctuates any Bal Sagoth album.it is possibly the darkest album Bal Sagoth have to date, especially compared to AA or BM or even TPC which sounded (in a very crude description) slightly happy. songs like the instrumental "To Storm the Cyclopean Gates of Byzantium" are absolutely eerie and coupled with the fact that the theme is mostly Lovecraft-ian, it is all the more brooding and menacing.definitely one of the best melodic/symphonic extreme metal albums in the recent past.
Unmerciful - Unmercifully Beaten
mmm.if all brutal death should were kept as precise and RIFF driven as this, I would probably like the genre more.
Daylight Dies - Dismantling Devotion
Bible of the Devil - The Diabolic Procession
Frightmare - Bringing Back The Bloodshed
Psycroptic - Symbols Of Failure
Chalky's decision to leave Psycroptic was quite disappointing to any fans of the band for whom his growl/scream vocal style marked one of the distinctive highpoints of Psycroptic's music.neverthless, Joe Haley's still churning out solid monster riffs and if there is a complaint against Symbols Of Failure, it would be the slightly underwhelming vocals but then Chalky's shoes are hard to fill and maybe with future albums, we will see Jason Peppiatt warming up more.
Yyrkoon - Unhealthy Opera
Zyklon - Disintegrate
onward then , to the ownerers (copyright kvltblog) and conquerers
10.Insomnium - Above The Weeping World
for bringing back the days of good melo-death.being a genre that I have almost given up on, it took this motherpuncher to convince me that this class of music is still alive, and kicking, as it were.
OK, it's not the Amorphis we all know and love but so what?I for one think that this melodic turn they've taken has yielded some surprisingly pleasant results. Tomi dosen't exude that raw energy that Koivusaari did but his clean vocals are absolutely delightful and complement the music brilliantly.I must admit though, this album is hard to get into.
8. Ahab - The Call Of The Wretched Sea
funeral doom at its hauntingly depressing best.vocalist Droste sounds monstrous and in a genre where riffs are of no particular importance, this brings a whiff of fresh air by being as inventive as it possibly would be, given the constraints that the music generally operates under.plus, I do not think they could've done better thematically.
7. Celtic Frost - Monotheist
to paraphrase Nin, Celtic Frost has always been, is and always will be the piquant muse of Tom Warrior and whatever he whims is what is executed.don't mistake me, I am not a blind worshipper.I hated Cold Lake and Vanity/Nemesis too.but this new album is just positively unhealthy in its depressive overtone and maniacal in its torturous intensity.as with Amorphis, the album is best viewed in an objective manner, otherwise as Celtic Frost, you're never going to like it.
6. Ihsahn - The Adversary
wow!who knew Ihsahn could SING eh?I mean really SING.I KEEP WARM BY THE FIIIIIIRRRREEE!
but seriously, I expected quite a lot from this album and I must say it delivered what was expected.there is some element of progressiveness in the album, coupled with some really awesome riffing.
5. Motorhead - Kiss Of Death
legends die hard and being the God that he is, Lemmy decided to enthrall us further with this absolute kicker of an album. Lemmy is still gargling steel and burping razors and the album retains the generally anthemic quality of songwriting that we all know and love Lemmy for. songs like Trigger and Under The Gun are the exact reasons why I am proud to be a metalhead, fists pumping in the air, head snapping to the pounding of the drums and proclaiming my allegiance to the music and its gods.\m/
4. Jorn - The Duke
he is easily one of THE most brilliant and unique vocalists alive today. the music he makes perfectly matches his talent.MASSIVE sing-along choruses punctuated with deliciously hooksy riffs.yummy.
3.Hammers of Misfortune - The Locust Years/ Krux - II
I am positively undecided between these two. I simply can NOT , WILL NOT pick between them.only because of the colossal brilliance of the two albums to follow did these 2 delectable works fall into 3rd place, failing which they both merit pedestals of their own.both of these works literally SCREAM "metal!!" into your face as they grab your face and slap you around like a rag doll.while Hammers Of Misfortune display a more hard rock/progressive style of songwriting, Krux are the very embodiment of slow, encroaching evil which gives a perverse, scary kind of delight. The Locust Years is an absolute heavy metal connoiseur's fantasy. slow, haunting intros giving way to a healthy trot. Cobbett sounds absolutely magnificent on the album (although, he does sound better on Slogh Feg's Atavism) and the female vocalist is top notch as well. Krux are a veritable supergroup, boasting of Candlemass 4 string wielder Leif Edling, Jorgen Sandstrom (Ex- Grave, ex- Entombed) on guitars and Mats Leven (ex-Malmsteen, Abstrakt Algebra) in their ranks. the music has a definite tinge of the early doom laden Candlemass sound, which is not a bad thing at all.there is some absolutely BRILLIANT lead work in there and the vocalist is just on a whole new level altogether.this one is a classic.
2. Iron Maiden - A Matter Of Life And Death
Maiden are back!and how!after the fiasco that was Dance Of Death, this was like a mighty left hook to the face.in no element have Maiden faltered in this album.even Gers is writing good songs!the whole album is an eclectic mix of the trademark Maiden sound and the confident experimentation of a band that has weathered it all.Bruce, though a bit strained still sounds as fantastic as ever and that man, my God, Adrian Smith is still belting out solos as melodic and as chilling as he did 25 years ago.this,my friends, is testimony, no IRREFUTABLE proof as to the fact that Maiden are the best metal band that has ever graced this planet.UP THE FUCKING IRONS!
1. Anata - The Conductor's Departure
it is witness to the absolute magnificence of this album that it even managed to pip Maiden to being my favourite of the year.this album towers like a colossus even among giants.there has not been a single day since I first listened to this that I have neglected to pay my humble obeisance to this godly piece of work from the Swedish quartet.considering that I was not too fond of Under A Stone With No Inscription in which they went all br00tal, I was not too sure about this one but by the chorus on "Downward Spiral Into Madness", I was a believer.this album encompasses terrifying intensity and enthralling melody, and it's particularly unique aspect is that the two seem to be working TOGETHER and not on seperate planes.the melding of these elements yields a singularly unnerving effect (that pre-lead breakdown on Downward Spiral...for example).Schalin sounds positively monstorous and on top of that, he is playing all those incredible riffs!if there was one teeny weeny complaint I would have against this album ,it would be the slightly plastic,lifeless drum sound but such trivialities shall be dispensed in view of the larger offering.
and there we have it.I must confess, there are a few albums I haven't yet listened to such as Sodom's S/T, Blind Guardian's "Twist in The Myth" Vicious Rumor's Warball and the just released Manowar's "Gods Of War", all of which I'm sure will find some mention here as soon as I get my hands on them.
ok I thnk I'll end my rant now.