For the record, this is not a "Best Albums of 2008" journal. Mainly because, me and Wavanova have been over that and pretty much agree, so yeah... Without any ado, on we go p_o
Dark Dude's Favorite Albums Through 2008
1. Every Red Heart Shines Towards The Red Sun by Red Sparowes (Post-Rock)
This album ultimately changed my life throughout this year, beginning in early February when I picked it up after hearing the band was touring with Agalloch. The album revealed to me the genre of Post-Rock in one of its best forms, and my god did I dig it. The interesting use of chord progressions entailing massive crescendo crashes and walls of sound after grandois build-ups involving highly concentrated atmospheric and conceptual effect manipulation of all instruments involved.
Put short, my favorite album over the past year, and I'm hoping Red Sparowes continue to keep up the intense winnery with their next album.
2. RIOT! by Paramore (Pop-Rock)
A few of you are probably going to force me to eat my own shoes for putting this album even on the list, but you know what, fuck you! This album warns of guilty pleasures, and my god does it succeed, leaving me helplessly addicted to all but 1 track on the album as the 2009 New Year came over, and holds strong even now. I truly adore this album for what it is; immensely catchy music that does something fairly new. I swear to god, I've never heard bass guitar quite that win in any pop-esque genres in my entire life *points at Fences*!
Guitaring extorts some excellent hooks in the power chords, and I have to admit, I do love Hayley's vocals, particularly in the songs That's What You Get, Miracle and Born For This.
All in all, this album is winrar. I don't care for the image it gives me, or how attractive Hayley is, I love this music and nobody can change that fact >_>
3. Fortress by Protest the Hero (Progressive Metalcore)
I was actually contemplating putting this 2nd instead, because even the rating balance is identical, however, Riot! has more listens, so I put that above.
To sum up this album, it's like the true vacuum of win. You have never heard anything like this, I guaruntee it, and my god is it... well, win p_o.
From the first second (or even from before the album has started, as there's a fairly nice pregap song too) this album just decimates your body with pure win. And does it stop? Nope! It gets slightly less win at The Dissentience, but Bone Marrow and Sequoia Throne just totally carry you away, and pretty much every track does the same after that until the end.
If you think Metalcore is poor, untalented scenestar garbage, you must pick up this album immediately. No, I hear your elitist conscience telling you not to, and he's wrong. This album is as, if not more, talented, original and awesome than a majority of what you call "True Metal", I guaruntee that.
4. Be by Pain of Salvation (Progressive Metal)
What. An. Album. Seriously, this album is a true masterpiece in music, showing a combination of musically and philosophically creative excellence expressed through a myriad of well-scripted lyrics and relevant and well-performed musical styles, including such genres as Gospel (Dea Pecuniae), Classical (Pluvius Aestivus), A Cappella (Nauticus (Drifting)), and, of course, Progressive Metal, accompanying Daniel Gildenlow's vocal prowess throughout the entirety of the album (with Dea Pecuniae and Iter Impius showing this most of all).
About God ("Animae") pondering his own existence and creating mankind as an entity in which to channel his mind in order to discover his own purpose, however, with the corruption of mankind causing Mr Money to rise and Nauticus to be constructed in which to voyage space looking for their own existence, all essentially collapses. I think... >_>
I generally recommend this album for everyone, metal fan or not, as it really is a gem in music altogether. If, however, you are a metalhead looking to try out Pain of Salvation, you should probably consider Remedy Lane instead, due to it being more musically metal.
5. Ashes Against the Grain by Agalloch (Dark Ambient/Neo-Folk/Progressive Doom Metal/Post-Rock)
This album has long been one of my favorite albums, being an excellent piece of experimental work by Agalloch. Featuring long layered passages of textured guitar distortion rhythms and melodies, intense drumming, and varietied vocals, this album creates atmosphere very well, with obvious post-rock influences assisting the album in having a very textured feel.
This album has songs such as Bloodbirds, Limbs and Falling Snow, which continue to win for me even now, with verging on 100 plays to each of them. The cachiness of a variety of the riffs here really ring it out in your mind, and the whole album successfully gives a rather reddish autumnal feel, potentially due to their extortion of minor key choices. I really do recommend this album if the description appeals to you at all.
6. The Galilean Satellites by Rosetta ("Post-Metal"/Sludge Metal/Dark Ambient/Noise)
Well, what have we here. This album is certainly something new and original, and if you like heavy post stuff, this is definately for you.
Intense depths of chord-built walls of sounds, amplified considerably with the use of quadraphonic sonics, giving the album a feeling like you're drowning in a crushing atmosphere on some distant planet. In fact, that's pretty much what this album is about; space colonization, with the target sound being "drifting through space".
In fact, it's a dual-CD. Consistent crushing sonics of experimental sludge on the first CD, and consistent noise-ambient soundscapes on the second. "Ok" you're probably like, "that's not much original". However, I failed to mention that, you can actually put the second CD ontop of the first CD (or vice versa, same result), combining the ambient tracks with the sludge tracks, in a way that they actually complement each other! That alone makes this incredibly win album even more win.
7. Precambrian by The Ocean ("Post-Metal"/Sludge Metal/Experimental/Post-Rock)
If the term "Symphonic Atmospheric Sludge Metal" sounds at all appealing to you, this album may be for you. This album combines the dense, soul-crushing passages of Sludge Metal with the long textured distortion atmospherics of Post-Rock and with a symphonic orchestra in the background of almost all songs.
The lyrics remind me of Between The Buried And Me in that they're really obscure, but taken literally, this album tells of the geological history of Earth, mainly the Precambrian era (hence the title), with each part of it being given its own name, such as "Rhyacian", and the sounds complement this feel perfectly, with "Orosirian: For The Great Blue Cold Now Reigns" feeling like a great blue cold now reigns, and "Stenian: Mount Sorrow" feeling like the grey developing skies of Earth in this time period. Quite the atmospheric album, and very catchy too.
8. Ultra Beatdown by DragonForce (Power Metal)
I'm sure the narrow-minded elitists are now begging to make me force my own shoes down my throat, but whatever.
Didn't expect much from this album originally, but I went into it with an open mind, and came out with some of the highest quality win ever. Yes, I don't care that it's not technical or whatever, but this is very good music and highly, highly catchy. DragonForce begin with a song that sounds very alike Revolution DeathSquad, and then immediately complete the remainder of the album with symphonically-complemented DragonForce.
And my god does it work. The lyrics are still the same old inconsistent epic rambling, but oh well! Songs like The Last Journey Home, Reasons To Live and Heartbreak Armaggedon really are very win... And what more can I say about this? If you liked their other stuff, you'll most certainly like this.
9. The Scattering Of Ashes by Into Eternity (Progressive Death Metal)
This album is just pure concentrated fucking win, to the point I wonder why I didn't put it higher.
Put short, every member of this band in this album, except maybe the bassist, is a total winlord. Stu Bloc expresses his incredible vocal talent by shifting between Black Metal, Prog Metal, Power Metal and Death Metal vocals within the space of about 30 seconds in various songs. This is heavily accompanied by almost constant melodic and technical guitaring with the solos being incredibly good and relevantly placed. And this is accompanied by absolutely outstanding drumming, with the drums being very rapid and technical, with one such moment in Suspension Of Disbelief including what appears to be 300 bpm double-bass, something I deemed impossible.
This album indeed makes it on here with little challenge and I recommend to all who like metal.
10. Those Who Tell the Truth Shall Die, Those Who Tell the Truth Shall Live Forever by Explosions in the Sky (Post-Rock)
Greet Death. Like, my god, if that song doesn't work as a gem of post-rock, I'm gonna go emo or something. The crescendo crashing wall of sound that lasts for 2 minutes after the silent intro wowed me absolutely completely, being catchy, atmospheric and, for lack of a better term, post-as-fuck. Simple chord progression, simple melodies, but so, so effective at winning.
The rest of the album isn't just drag though. Yasmin The Light has some epic progressions, with The Moon Is Down being a really nice relaxing song, turning into a massive climax in Have You Passed Through This Night?. A Poor Man's Memory has some epic drumming and dark melodies, and With Tired Eyes, Tired Minds, Tired Souls, We Slept, being a very melodically structured and relaxing song.
I really do have to give it to Explosions In The Sky for making this album win as both background music and catchy forward music. I've enjoyed it very much, more so than I seem to have expected, so here it is p_o
11. Eternal Kingdom by Cult of Luna ("Post-Metal"/Sludge Metal)
Released in 2008, this album was very fast off the mark, with some intensely epic sludge riff being thrown in your face no less than 10 seconds into the song. This is perhaps a metaphor for how this album rapidly became my favorite Cult Of Luna album, but whatever.
Constant atmospheric sludge that has a feel to it reminiscient of a dark dank forest in Sweden, which is pretty much what this album is about, a tale of some Owl God in some forest made in the mind of some deranged psychopath in some abandoned Swedish mental institution where the band performs... Interesting IMO, but it caused this album, and I couldn't ask for more.
This album created a style that wins, and they simply variate the style over the entire album with a few segues here and there, and it works very effectively if I'm to say so myself. A great album, really recommend it for you sludge fans.
12. Paradise Lost by Symphony X (Progressive Metal/Power Metal)
This album just wins very much. In fact, it wins so much, why did I put this here? Whilst writing this, I'm now going to move it from 14th to... 12th. And rearrange The Scattering Of Ashes and the Explosions In The Sky album. There. Better.
So, this album is full of intense Symphony X riffs, carries epic concepts revolving around the epic poetry Paradise Lost, and overall just wins. I can't really describe it any better to be honest, it's just a stream of win.
Intro feels like it belongs in some Fire Emblem movie or something of ridiculous epic magnitude like that that could only be thought of, and immediately, Set The World On Fire just sets your balls on fire with the flame of pure win.
Paradise Lost is probably my favorite Symphony X ballad so far with some insanely epic chorus, and Eve Of Seduction follows it by kicking off with some wild insane hax riff of win and just continues winning.
Likewise, Seven is very paced and keeps you grabbed, following into The Sacrifice which is a very catchy Symphony X ballad-song-thing too which gripped me fairly hard, and that all finishes really well with Revelations, the 10 minute finale.
That's really all there is to it. One word describes it and that's "Epic". This is a must-hear for all of you who like metal too.
13. Dismantling Devotion by Daylight Dies (Melodic Doom Metal)
I really love this album. Why, I don't know too much, but it's probably my favorite overall Doom Metal album. It really does sum the entire genre up, with downtempo distorted rhythm guitars tuned to Drop D, fairly basic drums, growly vocals and a depressive flow that really captures the aim of what Doom Metal's all about.
One of the main things I see in this album is the older-era Katatonia-esque structure of having a fair degree of emphasis on the lead guitar's melodies, which ring out depressive but impressive riffs almost constantly throughout the album, giving the album a more textured and atmospheric feel than the gritty Doom Metal you usually get in this vein like Swallow the Sun.
As I said, never got why I like this album, it's not too original, and the Novembre influence shines loud and clear, but it does do something, and that's fit the typical Doom Metal niche that's been missing for a while. Good job guys.
14. Mr. Beast by Mogwai (Post-Rock)
Ok Mogwai fans, you may kill me for this, but I genuinely believe this to be their best album. Maybe because they're more-to-the-point with the shoegazing sonics than elsewise, Iunno, I just feel this album actually portrays a sense of colour, whereas their other albums just feel like light and empty.
Regardless, Auto Rock, Glasgow Mega-Snake and We're No Here you've heard before if you live in Britain and even care to watch Top Gear, because their audio crews seem to adore throwing those songs in at intense parts. Whatever....
I love their crescendo crashes, something that made me contemplate throwing this above the Explosions In The Sky album, but it's not really consistent.
Auto Rock is focused on building up one melody, and works very well to hook you in to this album. Glasgow Mega-Snake is a rather more metal track than their usual. Travel Is Dangerous is one of my personal favorites, being catchy as fuck due to the typical pop-rock structure being used in a very post-rock way.
And lastly, the final track, We're No Here, is probably one of my favorite Post-Rock tracks in existence. Starts off feeling empty, and suddenly drowns you headfirst into some thick textured shoegazing wall of sound that remains throughout the song, progressing very pragmatically with the melodious guitar on top to feed it harmony. The bass feedback is something to acknowledge too, which fuels the drowning in sound feeling far. An excellent outro track and alone almost overclocks the album in win, although the many disappointing tracks subdue it.
15. The Fall of Math by 65daysofstatic (Post-Rock/Glitch)
An interesting album that really has you caught by first listen. Imagine combining the Post-Rock sound with Aphex Twin, and you pretty much get this album. Post-Rock textured guitars with glitchy sounds thrown everywhere in a bizarrely harmonic manner.
This album is easily my favorite 65daysofstatic album, and features some characteristically done names (This Cat Is A Landmine just makes me rofl everywhere >_>), but neither outdo the content. The song Retreat! Retreat! is a very powerful and forward Post-Rock song, going into its climatic wall of sound just seconds in after a very enthusiastically-said "This band is unstoppable!". Works very well.
Really do wish this band would continue with this style, rather than going down the typical Post-Rock route and minimizing the glitch influence.
Anyway, if you like Aphex Twin and anything heavier than Blink-182, you should probably try this out. Even if you don't like it, it's an interesting release.
16. Ragnarok by Týr (Folk Metal/Progressive Metal)
I'm surprised this album didn't rank higher too, 19th just feels empty, but when I realised that a majority of these albums past rank 5 are pretty much on par with each other... yeah... Yeah, you know what, let's swap this with City of Echoes. Done.
So, this album is very essentially what you get when you merge Progressive Metal with Folk Metal, and as such, it is very fucking awesome. The album basically sings the tales of a multitude of viking mythology, and throws this above some riffs which sound remarkably viking-like too. And this lasts for 20 tracks, highly consistent with win, even when speaking of the bonus tracks. If I were to get drunk with friends to one album, this is definately the one.
One thing worth noting is that I was digging this album this time last year, and I stopped listening to it more and more towards April, so I haven't listened to it fully for a while, but this is just a favorite albums throughout 2008 journal, so this gets here easily.
If you like screamy vocals, too bad, because this vocalist sings melodically and win. If you like thrashing fast guitaring, too bad, because these guitars are much like Turisas fed Progressive Metal. A good effort, recommend you guys try it out, as even Metal-Archives and Allmusic seem to like it a lot.
17. Stadium Arcadium by Red Hot Chili Peppers (Rock)
Probably the first band I ever liked that wasn't the average shitty pop garbage you like as a pre-double-figure kiddie, Red Hot Chili Peppers have long been a band I've always liked since. Therefore, this album was almost guarunteed entry regardless.
What we have here is a continuation of the departure of Red Hot Chili Peppers' old, more funk-driven side, into a more powerful Alternative Rock side. This album, released in 2006, smashed the charts within the first week, and for once I'm going to have to agree with that, because this album is pretty much the band saying "Oh we're sorry for not releasing an album for 6 years, here, take the equivalent to two albums to make up for it!", and such it's like, 20 tracks of pretty much solid winnery.
I used to like this before this year, particularly in 2006 when it was released, but I left it behind as time flowed by, so picking it up again here in 2008 was quite win. Awesome guitaring that sorta reminds me of Muse except more funky, and Flea once again pulls some epic basslines out of his hat in songs like Torture Me. Drumming is the same as per always and Keidis continues to sing in his usual style, so all's good.
If you like Red Hot Chili Peppers, you're probably gonna like this. If you like Alternative Rock or Progressive Rock, you're probably gonna like this too, because there's elements here that fit those categories perfectly.
18. The Ties That Blind by Mouth of the Architect ("Post-Metal"/Sludge Metal/Post-Rock)
This album really does define what's essentially "Post-Metal" by terminology, because it is literally what you get combining Post-Rock with Sludge Metal.
Massive bombastic songs that challenge Opeth in length rule this album predominantly with enormously drowning minor-key sludge guitar distortion chord progressions coupled by droning and groaning bass guitars to add to the constant walls of sound.
This album finds resolute in a new face of sound similar to that mentioned above with The Galilean Satellites, except this is far slower paced and depressing, with vocals turned down into minimalistic textured screaming that very rarely occur. I found it interesting, so...
19. City of Echoes by Pelican (Post-Rock/Progressive Metal)
I never got the problem people had with this album, because this really is quite a step forward in itself. Ok ok, so Pelican abandoned their sludgey Post-Metal roots in order to join the chain of Post-Rock, big deal, this still wins hard regardless.
Melodies all the way. Quite simply just a collection of songs with intriguing structures and melodies blasted everywhere in a similar vein to how vocals would be, which I must say, is very awesome, and quite proves that you do not need a vocalist in order to make some catchy lines in your songs!
If you've ever heard At The Soundless Dawn by Red Sparowes, note that this album has a lot in common with its use of tones. It's like they want some Pelican-Sparrow revolution to overthrow all birds and rule the world with post... Ok, now I'm just mindlessly ranting, put short, epic album Pelican, but try not to copy this style next time because it's gonna get pretty boring!
20. Wintersun by Wintersun (Melodic Death Metal/Progressive Metal)
This album is just such win. I got this early into 2007 so the fact this is appearing here reviewing 2008 is saying something.
Put short, Jari Mäenpää departed from Ensiferum after he decided to create this, Wintersun by Wintersun, in order to rape the ears of every metalhead on Earth with pure win. From looking at the current album due, it wouldn't surprise me if he spent 5 years making this album, but whatever.
Fast paced guitaring of both melodies and rhythm ontop of intricately paced drumming and bass and excellent melodeath vocals. Not to say all songs are really fast, with Starchild and the like being rather slow and ballady. The whole album emanates a feel very alike the cover, which is frozen and norse.
So yeah, this album is very win, makes me wonder when the fuck they'll get round to releasing Time, because they're certainly taking their Time (har har har). But seriously, it's been like 3 fucking years since they decided to make it, what the fuck is taking them?!
I'll end this here so I don't continue to rant about how Time will probably end up being released in 2487, as this isn't about Time, it's about Wintersun's Wintersun...
There you go guys, tell me what you think lulz p_o