Tuesday, November 30, 2010

2010 Favorite Metal Albums

As I have talked about before, I am not a huge of “best of” lists. However, it is that time of year when the music world is inundated with “best of the year” lists and we are forced to hear that Avenged Sevenfold put out the greatest album ever. That is complete BS in so many ways. So what I am writing now is my “Personal Favorites of 2010.” This is by no means a best of list and because music is subjective there cannot be a greatest album. What I want to put forth is a list of my favorites and have other people discuss which ones they liked. This way a debate can be created and more bands can be introduced to more people. So here it is, my list of albums that I have thoroughly enjoyed over that past year.

Eluveitie - Everything Remains As It Never Was
Coming back strong this year with a new album of folky goodness is Eluveitie, the Swiss powerhouse that never fails to deliver. Strong songs such as the title track and “Quoth the Raven” show off the death metal side as well as their clean folk side. This band has several dimensions that work well together that made this album a must have.

Blasphemophagher - ...For Chaos, Obscurity, and Desolation
Stepping up this year with a heaping blast of death/black metal pandemonium is Italian hate mongers Blasphemophagher. These beasts created an album of extreme metal magic that seems like it could blast through the speakers and rip out your soul right out of your body. Tracks such as “Fleshripping Terrordeath” display the evil constructions that this maniacal band has spewed from their puke ridden bodies. An album for the whole family!

High On Fire - Snakes For the Divine
Stoner metal maestros High On Fire came back this year with one of my favorite albums I have listened to in ages. This album is so bottom heavy and so full of amazing riff after riff that you will want to listen to it back to back to back. The album never gets boring and stays heavy after repeated spins. This one will definitely be on many year end lists this year.

Immolation - Majesty and Decay
New York’s own Immolation put out an album of pure death metal. These legends have been around for so long it is reasonable to think that they have lost their touch and would simply put out a decent album that people would buy based on their name alone. However, Immolation did not rest on their past success and put out an amazing album. Incredibly heavy, loud, and punishing, Majesty and Decay fits right along with the rest of Immolations illustrious back catalogue.

Hour of Penance – Paradogma
Brutal death metal has been flooding the scene for awhile now and there are many bands out there that are terrible, playing simplistic music that offers nothing innovative or original. Hour of Penance are not one of those bands. Their newest album Paradogma is a brilliant follow-up to the incredible The Vile Conception. Tackling the issues of religion and society, they are not afraid of raising issues of controversy that might get them in trouble with certain groups of people. However, that anger fits perfectly along with their heavy sound. Definitely a band to follow in the next few years.

Misery Index - Heirs To Thievery
Death metal, grindcore, and organized chaos; all ways that one can use to define Misery Index. Their newest album is one that surprised a lot of people by just how good it was. The mastery that they use to combine death metal and grind is very impressive and no one, in my opinion, has put out a death/grind album of this caliber in awhile. I can’t say enough good things about this album.

Nevermore - The Obsidian Conspiracy
What can I say about Nevermore that has not already been said by countless others. Combining thrash and prog into one tasty treat, The Obsidian Conspiracy displays the undeniable talent that these Seattleites continue to demonstrate with each album. The incredible vocals of Warrel Dane and the beauty of and intricacy of Jeff Loomis’s guitar are never more evident than on this album. Do yourself a favor and buy this album, along with the rest of their albums.

Witchery – Witchkrieg
Witchery are a “super-group” that has been around for 5 albums and they continue to get better with each release. Witchkrieg shows off the newest addition to the band, former Marduk frontman Legion. His black metal style of singing brings an added dimension of heaviness that makes this incarnation of the band an undeniable force. This is possibly my favorite album of the year.

Allegaeon - Fragments of Form and Function
A relatively new band, only putting out an EP in 2008, Allegaeon burst out onto the scene with a tremendous melodic tech death album. I purchased this album on a whim and was pleasantly surprised. From beginning to end, this album is unrelentingly brutal with enough technical ability to impress the most hardened critic. Showing the new wave of young brutality while not conforming to the deathcore grave, Allegaeon have proven that they can be a force to be reckoned with in the near future.

Electric Wizard - Black Masses
If you don’t know who Electric Wizard is by now, then you would be hard pressed to call yourself a metalhead. True purveyors of doom, this quartet of metal heavy hitters always put out some of the year’s best music time and time again. Black Masses is no exception, bringing the as low as possible. The weight of their music cannot be measured as it constantly gains more heaviness with each listen. Straight from the bowels of the center of the earth, Electric Wizard never disappoint.

Some honorable mentions include: Ares Kingdom – Incendiary, Nominon – Monumentomb, The Ocean – Heliocentric, Arsis - Starve For The Devil, Athiest – Jupiter, Melechesh - The Epigenesis, Dark Fortress – Ylem, Orphaned Land - The Neverending way of OrwarriOR, Watain - Lawless Darkness

Friday, November 26, 2010

Friday, November 19, 2010

Metal is Just Noise

BULLSHIT!!!!!!!!! This is an argument that many a non-metalhead has used to attack those of us that love extreme music. “It’s just 5 guys playing their instruments really loud while a guy screams,” this is something that I have heard many, many times. The problem is that Metal has some of the most accomplished musicians and prolific song writers around. While there are the few that are trend hopping jokers, the true artists outweigh them ten-fold. Whether they started out by studying music at college, attending prestigious music schools, or learned from the masters of the genre, no one can deny the true musicianship that goes into metal music. And for those around that do not believe these statements of fact, here are some great examples.
Flo Mounier of Cryptopsy has long been one of the greatest drummers around. Shown expertly on albums such as None So Vile and Blasphemy Made Flesh, Mounier has consistently shown his expertise with his instrument, even going so far as releasing a DVD of his drumming. Here is a small sample of his drumming, note that all of this footage is in real time, nothing is sped up.
Guitar is one of the most obvious instruments of showing off metal’s musical expertise. The next video is from tech-death geniuses Gorod. This example from the duo of Mathieu Pascal and Arnaud Pontaco shows the dexterity and musical ability of what goes into a death metal song. It is simply amazing.
One of the most criticized factions of metal music is the vocals, saying that it is nothing but screaming. In reality that is not true in all forms. In prog, power, even some thrash, the vocals are many times beautiful that can contrast the harshness of the rest of the music that creates something magical. One example is that of Warrel Dane, the lead singer of Nevermore, Sanctuary, and his own eponymous band. Here exemplifies that of his amazing voice.
However there are a majority of bands that have vocalists that have extremely harsh vocals. Screams, yells, growls, and many other adjectives describe the sewer dwelling sounds that are emitted from many vocalists. What many people do not understand is that it takes a lot to be able to scream 250 days of the year in front of hundreds or even thousands of people without destroying your vocal chords. Metal singers work at their craft and are able to scream and growl in tune with their music day in and day out without obliterating their voices. For example, here is Mikael Akerfeldt, lead singer and guitarist of legendary prog-death band Opeth. He is able to sing as sweetly as a nightingale and growl like a diseased mutant rising from the dead all in the same song.
So there you have it, perfect truth that metal is not simply 5 guys screaming in a booth and playing their guitars loudly, it is much more than that. Metal is the response to the mainstream crap that inundates the world, the music that dumbs down our youth, and doesn’t let the world know and understand anything else than what corporations let them. Hopefully more people can learn and understand this underground world that we all know and love.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Nergal Health Update

Behemoth frontman Adam "Nergal" Darski, diagnosed with leukemia this summer, has checked in from a Polish hospital. Here you go:

"Hello everyone! I’m still in the hospital but in quite a good shape so I write to let you know about my health and the further stages of treatment. I’ve been through four planned chemotherapies and have stayed in hospital for over 3 months now. I’ve gone through the whole therapy smoothly, though I also had a couple of difficult moments. All this means I finish the stage of pharmacological treatment and I am about to start the irradiation and then the marrow transplant. Yes, we’ve found a donor! Having searched for months, the fundation has found a person whose genotype is identical to mine. It would have been difficult to achieve if it wasn’t for the support of so many people. Most of all, I want to express my admiration for Dorota - my wonderful and devoted fiancĂ©e. She did everything she could to help me and many other people, regardless of adversities and comments which were often unfair. Your help is invaluable! Thank you! I love you. On behalf of me and all other people ill I thank everyone who registered in the bone marrow bank regardless of origin, skin colour or religion. The concerts for charity have been organised all over the world and people of show business, bands and, most of all, the fans got deeply involved. You are beyond great! One of you made my transplant possible, but remember, your attitude may save many others in need. So I appeal to everyone: don’t stop the madness! The march for victory continues! Horns up!'"
(from www.lambgoat.com)

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Metalcore / Deathcore Playlist

Here it is, the last in our series of genre playlists.About four years ago, there was no place that you could hide from metalcore/deathcore bands. They were rising out of every conceivable corner of this entire world. Containing a mix of hardcore beats and vocals with the guitar lines and hooks of Swedish melodic death metal bands, metalcore bands “created” a sound that was more accessible to people not generally into metal music to begin with. What went wrong with this genre is that it became so easy to make a band popular that the majority of bands were simply following an exact formula to create success. There was hardly any originality or personality behind these bands and a sense of staleness was imparted to these groups. However, there are still a few shining lights in this much maligned genre. Here are some bands that don’t follow that rigid formula that killed a genre as well as a few of my personal guilty favorites that got me into metal that do follow that formula.

Integrity – To Die For

Bleeding Through – Just Another Pretty Face

Heaven Shall Burn – The Weapon They Fear

Despised Icon – The Sunset Will Never Charm Us

Through the Eyes of the Dead – Malice

Nodes of Ranvier – The Years to Come

Impending Doom – My Nemesis

Converge – Eagles Become Vultures

Botch – Saint Matthew Returns To The Womb

Dillinger Escape Plan – Panasonic Youth

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Electric Wizard - Black Masses

The band that many people believe to be THE preeminent doom band of today, Electric Wizard, has just released another amazing album this week, Black Masses. This band is undeniably one of the heaviest bands around and they continue to put out quality releases time and time again. Their new album is no exception as it continues on their tradition of slow moving heavy compositions that rattle your soul. Evoking much of Black Sabbath’s work, Electric Wizard is here again to destroy your colon with its immense riffs. Here is "Black Mass."


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Heavy Metal Election

Its election season and I thought that we should have a little election here at \m/ All Metal All The Time\m/ This is going to be a simple who do you like more between bands of a similar genre. Either leave a comment at the end of this post or shoot me a message and I will tell you all the results in a few days. Let the world know who you think is the best!!!

Municipal Waste vs Gama Bomb

Death Metal:
Blood Red Throne vs Man Must Die

Black Metal:
Barathrum vs Urgrund

Trap Them vs The Berzerker