Well hello there. Just to clarify what's going on here, I've listed all of the albums that I've listened to that were released this year in reverse order with some comments about the band and the album so that hopefully you'll have a good idea about what to expect from the album. Obviously I could write a lot more for each but I wouldn't be able to do that for every single album I've listen to this year, so I've put links up to youtube videos so that you can decide for yourself. Clearly there are some notable bands I've missed this year: Black Sabbath, Atlantean Kodex, Falkenbach, Revocation, Deicide, Motorhead, Hypocrisy, Satyricon, The Ruins of Beverast, Fleshgod Apocalypse to name but a few, but I think that I've got a good and wide selection of metal to recommend, or not as the case may be. There were plenty of really good albums this year and it was pretty hard to pick a favourite, but I managed it. If you just want a list of my top albums this year, scroll to the bottom. That section contains percentage scores that I would give those albums. Anyway, here goes, starting with my least favourite album of 2013...81. Altar of Plagues – Teethed Glory and Injury [Post-Black]
Many people, myself included, were looking forward to this album. I thought this would be a contender for at the very least a top 10 if AoP could have built upon their very enjoyable previous works. Already you could see they were heading in a different direction by not structuring the album into 4 long tracks. And then you listen to it and the first thought is, without fail, “what the fuck is this?” Several attempts to listen to this album haven't revealed to me what the hell Altar of Plagues were trying to accomplish here. Diversity isn't an issue here: I guess it all falls under the category of 'post-black metal', but there are a lot of weird industrial elements, what can only be described as 'noise' and unusual styles I completely didn't expect from this band. Not only that, but the black metal sections are crap too. Biggest disappointment of the year. Avoid. Without wanting to sound harsh, it's maybe a good thing than AoP have subsequently split up.
God Alone (Official Video): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RbfieYwl4aQ80. Skagos – Anarchic [Atmospheric/Post Black]
I've given this more listens than I should have done for my sanity. I want to like this album, I enjoyed the previous album, “Ást” and was hoping for another really cool, laid back album with black metal aesthetics. I suppose that's what this is without the 'cool' bit. It's just boring. The ambient parts are too long, the black metal sections aren't interesting, some parts are just plain bad and the drums are really sloppy. It's a very disappointing album in short. There are some decent-ish bits that remind me of Fen's album from this year but they aren't worth listening through the album for. It's only split up into 3 tracks so I can't just single out a decent section and listen to that. I understand it's supposed to be listened to as a full album, but it makes it all the harder when most of it is crap. Especially Side B (Anarchic IV-V) which is so completely marred by some odd-sounding, awful, female vocals. If you're going to listen to any of it, listen to Side C (Anarchic VI-VII). It has it's moments I guess.
Anarchic VI-VII: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uexsZ9Ud9ZY79. Antediluvian – λόγος [Black/Death]
If you read my top albums of 2012 list from last year you will have seen me place Abyssal at the top and it's due to that that I listened to this album – having heard Antediluvian in the same breath as Abyssal. But where Abyssal create great atmosphere with good clarity of sound, Antediluvian went down the opposite path and decided to have no clarity whatsoever. It's really hard to listen to this album because you have to concentrate so hard to pick out riffs/drum patterns/vocals. It's not how I want to listen to my music. After many listens I did pick out a few cool parts, but anyone that is a fairly casual listener will not get this or just plain dislike it. Probably. Feel free to try, but don't say I didn't warn you.
Transept of Limbs: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KSojdnDchqI78. Orphaned Land – All is One [Folk/Progressive]
Boy did I pick the wrong moderately famous band to listen to here. Or at least I picked the wrong album... From what I had heard, I thought that these guys had slight death or black metal leanings. While it may be true of their earlier albums, it's not the case here. In fact the metal is somewhat lacking entirely – all the riffs are generally weak chord progressions and the melodies often come from the vocals and the synths. What we have here is middle-eastern folk/power metal, made to sound fairly epic with the synths and choirs. I can't really fault the musicianship and the orchestration though, so if that sort of thing is your cup of tea then you may well get a fair deal of enjoyment out of it, but it's not for me. There are a few cool leads and growls scattered about the place to remind you that it's a metal album, but there's just too much power and folk for me.
All is One (Official Video): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bds3FALcR7M
Brother (Official Video): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qsPb1-uPIic77. Mortillery – Origin of Extinction [Thrash]
I expected some great thrash here, and to be honest I'm a little disappointed. There's no lightning fast riffs and solos, not flashy hyper-fast drumming, and only a pinch of attitude. Well, that's not true. There's plenty of attitude, but only in the vocals. I find the rest of the band to be fairly mediocre, with often too-simplistic drums, no flashy basslines and a really bland guitar tone spouting tired riffs, but the occasional decent melodic lick. But that's not to say that I particularly like the vocals either – when she's in harsh mode, she's enjoyable to listen to (in the same way that the Znowhite vocals are enjoyable for a while) but the high-pitched 'clean' shrieks aren't what I want when I'm thrashing. They were all the rage back in the early days perhaps but I hoped thrash had moved on from there. Plus they remind me of those terrible annoying high-pitched vocals with stupid lyrics from 3 Inches of Blood. Not that the Mortillery vocals are that similar and certainly not as bad, but just reminding me will get you a bad review I'm afraid. Plus I'm hit with the overwhelming feeling that I've heard this all before and I simply don't care any more.
F.O.A.D. (Official Video): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TcXzqruShrY76. Ghost – Infestissumam [Metal]
In a way, I'm glad I gave this a third chance. I still don't especially like it, but there are some bits that aren't too bad. When I first listened to this album I was either leaning towards absolute apathy and utter contempt for Ghost. I tried to tap my foot along to try and get into it but it doesn't work after a few attempts so I'm gave up. I know it's harking back to the early days of heavy metal, but back then people put emotion into their music! I got no feeling coming from this album, it's so slow/midpaced with no flair whatsoever put into anything. Basically, I find most of it incredibly tedious. Sure some of the riffs are decent and the songs themselves are usually well crafted, but what good is that if it's played in a completely emotionless way? Even the occasional retarded circus keyboard lick in the background doesn't help - what a shock! The only two songs I'd consider listening to again are “Jigolo Har Megiddo” and the second half of “Ghuleh / Zombie Queen”, as they are the only ones with any energy. I have no idea how this band got so big so quickly.
Secular Haze (Official Video): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vyQZ13jobIY
Monstrance Clock (Official Video): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6oa_nbgE8M875. Katatonia – Dethroned and Uncrowned [Acoustic]
I was really looking forward to this release, to hear some new versions of songs that I loved some much from last year's fantastic “Dead End Kings” but my expectations were nowhere near met. A lot of what I really liked about last year's album is the vocal lines, but they alone do not make a good album; the backing music wasn't just an accompaniment, but the dynamics and the way the vocals and band interacted were interesting. This album isn't. It also seems like they used the exact same vocal takes as on “Dead End Kings”, which I do frown upon, but it's nothing compared to overwhelming tedium that makes up this album. The occasional chord on acoustic guitar, or piano melody or synth is just there in the background and I find that it contributes almost nothing to the album. It's not that it's amazingly bad that it's down here, but the original is just so much better that it makes this meaningless unless you really dislike the metal elements of Katatonia.
The One You Are Looking For Is Not Here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gnVjaJi8m2A74. Ulcerate – Vermis [Technical Death]
I had heard some really good things about this band – and really anyone that's mentioned in the same breath as Gorguts deserves some praise. Or so I thought. I love technical death metal, but I just don't get this. To be fair I don't really get all of Gorguts' work either, but this is on a whole new level of 'what the fuck?' It's more dissonant than most tech death (that I've heard) and overall it just comes across as a great big fucking mess to me. It seems to me like they will appeal to the same people that like Portal, Mitochondrion (and Gorguts) – it's all about making a lot of semi-controlled noise and for some reason some people seem to enjoy it, but I do not. Occasionally in the midst of all the noise there will be an awesome riff, but it will only be a fleeting glimpse. It seems like they want to juxtapose their craziness with quieter moments, but there doesn't seem to be a point to them and more to the point, they're generally a bit boring. There's an art to writing dissonant, crazy, but also memorable music that Blut Aus Nord have mastered, but Ulcerate need to work on before I want listen again. Can't fault their technical ability though.
Confronting Entropy (Promotional Video): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M5SkcwHykU073. Megadeth – Super Collider [Metal]
Yet another Megadeth album is released, long after the fact that everybody stopped caring. I really enjoyed Cryptic Writings (maybe just for nostalgia's sake), but since then Megadeth albums have only consisted of 2 or 3 decent songs. I think everyone who grew up on the classics of “Peace Sells” and “Rust in Peace” still thinks they have something great in them with the occasional hint in “Washington is Next”, “Headcrusher” and “Kick the Chair” but then came the retardedly named Th1rt3en. That showed, to me at least, that there was no hope left for a quality Megadeth album. This album sort of proves that – it's definitely an improvement on Th1rt3en but overall it's just a bland metal/hard rock album with a couple of real stinkers and a few that are maybe just above average. Just as an aside: not that I'm particularly fussed, but MegaDave's vocals are even worse than usual. Overall it's not terrible and I can't understand the hate towards this album but it's honestly not worth a listen. Broderick's solos are pretty good though.
Super Collider (Official Video): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PZhqZAVGTqw72. Finntroll – Blodsvept [Folk]
This is the first amount of Finntroll I've heard in any significant quantity since not long after the release of Ur Jordens Djup in 2007. Prior to that I did enjoy a fair amount of folk metal, but afterwards I found that I couldn't stomach it. It sounds slightly ridiculous, but it's too upbeat for me I think. I don't enjoy the happy, poppy, bouncy melodies and rhythms that I used to. It's a shame in a sense because a lot of reviews for this album have praised it and I can hear that the songwriting and production is great, but for the most part I just don't enjoy the kinda epic, bombastic music, generally because of the synths. As on the earlier Finntroll works I'm familiar with, it's the slightly darker songs such as “Blodsvept” I can appreciate much more. Maybe I should be (more) drunk when I listen to this album, it would probably be a lot more fun.
Häxbrygd (Official Video): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GclKDei5hHU71. Amon Amarth – Deciever of the Gods [Melodic Death]
To be honest I wasn't really expecting much out of this album from the great Amon Amarth, so it wasn't really much of a disappointment. They've been on a downward trend ever since the absolutely superb “With Oden On Our Side” and this is merely a continuation of the pretty alright “Twilight of the Thunder God” and the quite sub-par “Sutur Rising”. It's about as good as “Sutur Rising” - the riffs are just as bland and the production is about as decent, but that's if you like this slightly less crushingly awesome sounding Amon Amarth. I don't. It's just not enthralling, as well written or awesome sounding as something like “Avenger” but I'm fine with that. Johan Hegg's vocals are as awesome as ever, but the riffs are a bit too melodeath for me, when they're not being boring. They've put out some great albums but are as popular as ever and even if their music is lacking these days, if they're getting more kids into metal with this accessible version of extreme metal, then I guess I'm happy with that result even if I'm no longer looking forward to the next Amon Amarth album.
Deceiver of the Gods (Promotional Video): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Z3spJ_z3Es
As Loke Falls (Official Lyric Video): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LpZiuh0MlpM70. SuidAkrA – Eternal Defiance [Folk/Melodic Death]
Suidakra have always been a bit of a guilty pleasure for me with their Scottish/Gaelic/Celtic folk melodic death metal, but they write some really catchy tunes I can really enjoy on occasion. However, I do start to take exception when they go off on an almost power/folk tangent as in “March of Conquest”. That's too much for me and is unfortunately what several songs are comprised of, and trying to be to grandiose and epic. It's same thing with Finntroll's more major key songs – it's just personal taste of course but I can't stand power metal these days. In addition to that, I find that the semi-plagiarised medieval folk riffs start to grate after a while. Apart from that, there are some good songs on here and Suidakra possibly sound their best on this album – some of their previous production jobs haven't been very high quality. So this album might be more like what you were looking for in a metal album, but it isn't what I was looking for and I would say that it's a step down from the quality of the last couple of Suidakra albums.
March of Conquest (Official Video): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BVESw9fFlt069. Darkthrone – The Underground Resistance [Heavy/Black]
To me, Darkthrone have been innovators, being one of the first black metal bands (as we know black metal these days) and to hear an album like this, for me, is just a bit disappointing. I've seen it called “regressive music” which I kind of agree with. That's the problem, I feel like I've heard it all before. It just doesn't excite me – no cool drum parts and the riffs are often kinda simplstic That's sometimes not such a bad thing, but I don't think it works well all of the time here, possibly because it sometimes feels like there's no energy going into the riffing. I'm also not a fan of Fenriz's clean singing, or his alternative to be honest (not quite growls, not quite rasps) although it does manage to fit in rather nicely on “The Ones You Left Behind”. Sure there are some good moments to be heard on the album – the afformentioned song and “Lesser Men”, but on the whole I don't really get much enjoyment out of this album. The more upbeat songs are more generally marred by clean vocals. I think if anything, Darkthrone should maybe try something completely new, I mean my favourite songs on here were the slower ones, so why not go all doomy, right?
Come Warfare, The Entire Doom: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ps89qo-prYI68. Onslaught – VI [Thrash]
I'm proud to say that I went to Onslaught's reunion gig back in '06 – it was a momentus day. The first time anybody had heard such classics as “Metal Forces” live in many-a-year. Soon after followed Killing Peace, a half-good, half-boring thrash album. It didn't really inspire me to listen to their second post-reformation album, but now since I'm doing this album thing that I do, I thought “why not”. Well, it's not a terrible listen I guess – I'm not not enjoying it, but basically it's not good enough to make me want to listen to it. Sure there are a few sections of songs that are cool – some nice soloing in there and it's definitely thrashy – but they didn't really put together even a whole song that I thought of as really good. So this album is confined to the vast plains of 'meh' where it will be forgotten by everyone because it is just so unremarkable.
Chaos is King (Official Lyric Video): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4n4bQmQDU1s67. Torture Squad – Esquadrāo de Tortura [Death/Thrash]
Not that it would make much difference to the end result, but I really wish I'd heard that the Torture Squad had become a trio, with the vocalist that had been with them since the beginning departing for other musical adventures. The guitarist is now fielding the vocal duties and I wish he wouldn't. I never realised how integral the vocalist was to Torture Squad, but he really was, considering the feeble attempt at harsh vocals we have to endure here. I really mean endure too – the album gets close to the 70 minute mark and there really is no need for all those songs, most of which I can't really recall at all, perhaps due to the quite poor production job. It's cool to see that the rhythm section is still all there, which is pretty much the only reason anyone listens to Torture Squad, but overall the album isn't really worth listening to. Maybe if they rerecorded with a different vocalist it would be another matter... But they're still also suffering from “you might as well just listen to 'Pandemonium'” syndrome.
No Escape From Hell: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tphU-7T5aR466. Artillery – Legions [Thrash]
I've come to accept the fact that I'll never get another “By Inheritance”, but I really did like the first album since these Danish thrash legends reformed. The second effort, “My Blood” was just a bit run-of-the-mill and subsequently the longtime vocalist and integral part of the Artillery sound left. Because of this, I almost didn't bother listening to the album. With expectations fairly low, I find that it met them. Just about. The music itself is pretty cool and definitely Artillery, but I just can't get on with the new vocalist. The lyrics are a bit stupid (not that Artillery has ever been a band for awesome lyrics) but mostly he's lacking the attitude and fairly unique voice that Artillery have almost always had. The style is simply too power-y for me. If you like power/thrash then you'll probably enjoy this album, but I just can't get into it.
Legions (Official Video): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sG8A0zugWmY65. Metal Church – Generation Nothing [Heavy]
Heh, I never thought I'd see another Metal Church album since they split up in 2009, but here we are, and honestly I think that they should have stopped there. I quite enjoyed the last few hard-rockin' Metal Church albums that were not generally well received, although they were slowly declining in quality and this album is a continuation of that trend. The music has it's moments but is generally pretty boring unfortunately, and there's the overwhelming feeling that all the ideas on this album are recycled ideas from the last couple. One upturn from the last few albums however is Ronny Munroe's vocals which are really powerful and help drag the album up by it's bootstraps with his attitude and intonation. It's a shame to see such legends of a genre “flop”, but I guess we should actually be used to it by now. For a band that's worried about sales, they should realise that they need to make something worth buying first. (Harsh, I know, but I still love Metal Church.)
Suiciety: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V3W4lABnV64. Ihsahn – Das Seelebrechen [Progressive]
Oh deary me, this was supposed to be a highlight of the year! I've loved pretty much everything Ihsahn has done before, but this is just not up to the standard of his earlier works. It's an album of two halves, the first having actual songs on it. They're very progressive or avant-garde, but you can still classify them as songs with recurring melodies and themes in roughly the same vein as Ihsahn over the last couple of years. The second half of the album however is just a random collection of sounds as far as I can tell (Apart from the solo in “M”). There's a couple of interesting parts dotted around in there, but they're not coherent songs. This isn't even metal, there are very few riffs and barely any guitar at all apart from in what is easily the best song on the album. I mean not being metal doesn't inherently put me off especially but it should be known because I was expecting one when I sat down to listen to an Ihsahn album. A very forgettable album overall, but it does have its moments.
NaCl (Official Lyric Video): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=92g3KGbZXU063. Violator – Scenes of Brutality [Thrash]
I kinda liked Violator's debut “Chemical Assault” for a while, but It just ended up sounding really grating... Mostly due to the vocals I think. That's not the case here, I didn't really ever think that this was a good album. This album only seems to have the aesthetics of a thrash album – it's generally fast and harsh and loud and there's definitely some angry Brazilian behind the mic, but that's all there is. Apart from the abundant energy with which they play, there's nothing much that sets this album apart from the crowd of modern and particularly Brazilian thrash. Even all the songs on this album are quite similar. It's not simply good enough to just play thrash and play it well, you've got to make it interesting and while there are a few cool riffs here and there it's not enough to make the whole album an enjoyable listen. Thrash has been going strong for 30-odd years and an album like this just reeks of 'heard it all before'. It's not all bad though, and if you liked Violator's debut then you'll probably enjoy this as well. Hell, I enjoy this more than their debut.
Colours of Hate: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vCy6wkdi4bM62. Peste Noire – Peste Noire [Black]
I'm not sure where to start with this... I'd heard that Peste Noire was a little “weird” or “avant-garde” but I wasn't expecting what I heard. When you think of avant-garde black metal you will immediately think Arcturus (probably) but this is nothing like that. This is more like black metal with horns... and flute and accordion, but the weird thing is that often the melodies are decidedly French, perhaps aided by the raw, almost rustic production as well as the instruments. I have no idea how or why, but they somehow work brilliantly in the realm of black metal. Or at least in the realm of Peste Noire which seems to be completely isolated from anything else. Because it's a very unusual album it's very hard to rate it or even know whether I like it or not. I'm pretty sure I do, but I think you've got to be in a certain frame of mind to really appreciate it and unfortunately for the album, I just can't get into all it's weird elements at the time of writing.
La Bêche Et L'Epée - Contre L'Usurier: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eQ9x_gb8S2k61. Evile – Skull [Thrash]
I've never been completely infatuated with Evile when most people were back in '07 with the release of “Enter the Grave”. It's alright, but only has a few really great tracks on it. I have listened to the following albums, but sparingly – they're just not very interesting. So I moved with trepidation to click on 'play'. To my surprise I found this album to be quite good, but it hasn't lasted. It's very similar to the first album but with slightly cleaned up sound and mix of decent and boring songs. Evile are at their best when they're thrashing and anything they do that's mid-paced just isn't very interesting – which is what the middle 2 albums were throughout and a substantial chunk of this album is. The vocals are both harsh and occasionally melodic and contribute well to some good choruses - “The Naked Sun” in particular. I'd say this album is good if you want a Metallica clone, but if you want something new in your thrash life then you should look elsewhere. To last year perhaps.
Underworld (Official Lyric Video): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gckfqefea_060. Caladan Brood – Echoes of Battle [Epic/Atmospheric Black]
Well I'd seen the genre described as epic/atmospheric black metal so naturally I had to listen to it. Not exactly what I'm after though, it's generally a little too on the atmospheric side of things for my usual listening habits. Not just that, but fucking hell this is a long album. 71 minutes long! It's a fairly enjoyable listen though, if I had to describe it in one word, “epic” would probably be it. The riffs, the vocals, the crappy synths that manage to sound more than halfway decent, the whole feel of this album is “epic.” It also feels old – many of the melodies sounded to me like the sort of thing you'd get in the background of a TV re-enactment of 14th century life, or in playing Skyrim. One thing I really did like is the way Caladan Brood contrast the epic chanting vocals and the rasped black metal vocals, and pounding war drums with cool tremolo picked melodies. When they're more uptempo I can really get into it, but as I said though, it's just not quite my cup of tea when it comes to everyday listening; hence it's fairly lowly position, but If you like Summoning, you'll love this.
Echoes of Battle: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CPVSAgL2AaI59. Lost Society – Fast Loud Death [Thrash]
A thrash revival band you might say. They're trying to put the fun back into thrash perhaps, but so are plenty of other thrash bands that end up just sounding immature and unfortunately these Fins kind of fall into that category for me. It's clear that they can play their instruments and write decent enough songs for the most part. There are plenty of decent, energetic riffs and cool squealing leads around, but unfortunately I find my listening experience marred by such songs as “Piss Out My Ass” and “Dairy of a Thrashman.” It's probably a lot of fun live (like Municipal Waste) but it's not great on record. I hope that when (if) they come to writing a second album they'll look back and think what immature teenagers they were. There's enough immature teenage thrash bands around, thank you very much. To an extent, these guys just got lucky to be picked up by a major label.
Kill (Those Who Oppose Me) (Official Video): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VYaSmFcfVM
Trash All Over You (Official Video): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PvFjkijf0lo58. Deceptor – Chains of Delusion (EP) [Thrash]
A fairly recently created thrash band from Birmingham that I had to check out. I heard that they had great riffs, which of course is the main force behind thrash, and it's true. There is a 'but' though. It's just an unusual sort of sound that Deceptor have – they vary between big melodic vocals and harsh with no consistency or reason as far as I can see. I also have issues with the guitar tone. It's not thin, but I think it lacks harshness slightly and I guess that suits the melodic riffs but it sounds more like NWOBHM. I prefer more evil, harsh sounding music and this isn't quite for me. But holy fuck “Heatseeker” is such a goddamn tune, with an awesome video to boot. That's why it's so high up on the list.
Heatseeker (Official Video): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8E3ij-P5NgY57. Deathchain – Ritual Death Metal [Death]
Not exactly what I was expecting from the makers of possibly my favourite death/thrash album of all time: “Deathrash Assault”. They had progressed since that album to a darker, slightly slower, more atmospheric brand of death metal. “Ritual Death Metal” is a continuation of this progression and it works quite well, but the guitars are far too muddy and low in the mix for me to be able to thoroughly enjoy the album – I think there are probably a few awesome melodies I just completely missed! - and the high speed thrash riffs and insane drumming are all gone but for a few glimpses. The finished article has unfortunately ended up as a bit bland – there are too few riffs or really anything that makes you sit up and take note, but after the first few songs everything sounds the same – possibly a bad mixing job that doesn't help matters. It doesn't help that the atmosphere they're trying to create isn't quite there either. One of the more disappointing albums of this year because I know what Deathchain are capable of.
Seven Asakku Shadows (Official Video): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z41pBfkTwvM56. Sodom – Epitome of Torture [Thrash]
One of the iconic Teutonic thrash bands are back with their 14th album and with an album with the title “Epitome of Torture,” you would expect maybe “Tapping the Vein” style brutality and excellence. Of course having listened to the last album, my expectations weren't all that high. I guessed this would be another just-about-above-average album, which is about the best you can hope for from old thrash bands (that didn't have an extended hiatus) these days. And that's what you get. It's a basic Sodom album, with one or two great songs, some decent songs and some sub-par songs and that token slightly annoying German folksy song. There's nothing especially interesting to note, but overall it's a good listen with a couple of songs that will be played on tour for a while to come I would think. Just as an aside, I would have thought someone would have been able to tell Tom how to say “epitome” correctly.
Stigmatized (Official Video): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ifyH9UVxXk55. Sacriphyx – The Western Front [Death]
I'd heard the name Sacriphyx being thrown around ever since the album first dropped in January and thought this is something I must listen to. It's taken a while for me to find this album at all, let alone the slightly poor quality rip that I have ended up with. Yes, boo me for downloading it. Still I can't say that I was even close to blown away by this fairly short album. The comparisons I'd heard were with one of my favourite bands, Arghoslent and I can tell you that these guys definitely aren't Arghoslent. I can kinda see it in the almost-melodic death metal riffs, but the riffs aren't as high quality or exciting (usually). I don't care that much for the vocals either – they're almost a parody of DM vocals... Plus the production is a bit muddy – not so much that it detracts too much from the sound. I wasn't too sold on the ballad halfway though either, but it's not a bad listen nonetheless with cool melodic elements and while it's a very emotional journey through warfare, I just find some songs a bit drab. I think this a good starting point for a band to really flourish come the second album, but they aren't there yet.
Buried Behind the Lines: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T3Jlrvv5EBI54. Bong Goblin – Buddy Waters (EP) [Stoner/Death]
So I was trawling through the Metal-Archives one day looking for any local bands, and this is all I could come up with – a band that was still active and something I potentially wanted to listen to. Huzzah! Not only that, but this band had released an EP just a week or two ago and it was (is) free on their bandcamp page. Too good to be true it seemed... The EP itself is a very unusual experience – I generally don't listen to that much stoner/psychedelic music, but I've never heard anything like this. It's a mix of the aforementioned styles and death metal. Or black metal. It's very strange, but the guitar tone is thick and fuzzy and the song craft is well done with a great mix of styles revolving around the stoner/sludge theme. Buddy Waters might sound a little amateurish, but it's a good listen nevertheless and I look forward to new material.
The Wizard's Brew: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RVgEdLn4lU853. Convulse – Evil Prevails [Death]
Yet another reformation of an old-school band has yielded this. Unfortunately this isn't all that much. Now Convulse put out 2 albums in the early 90s and “World Without God” is truly a classic of Finnish death metal (which is saying something) and well, this just isn't. The guitar tone isn't lethal enough, the chord progressions often seem tired, the vocals are a bit drab and the drums do nothing of note, but they do manage to keep a fairly upbeat feel throughout the album which does help it considerably. There are a few notable exceptions when it comes to great riffs and interesting parts which mostly seem to come in the second half of the album but you if you really want to give it a spin, but aren't missing much if you don't bother listening to this one.
Unholy War: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dgBt2-NOGVc52. Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats – Mind Control [Psychadelic Rock/Doom]
Now this is what Ghost should have done – no pretending to be an extreme band with satanic imagery and just play some great rocking tunes. Let Uncle Acid take you back to the late sixties/seventies when psychadelic rock was all the rage and remember how good it was. Probably – I'm too young to really know. Mind Control is pretty much a psychadelic rock album, but there are hints of proto-doom metal like you get in Black Sabbath. The vocals aren't heavily relied upon, being slightly ghostly in sound, but do add some nice melody to the often stoner/doom fuzzed-out, laid back riffs that keep you nodding your head in unison with the music. Couple that with some great (by which I mean not over-the-top) lead work and you have a modern classic album on your hands. The reason it's this far down the list is because the quality starts to suffer a slight downhill trend throughout the album and generally isn't something I'd want to listen to every day, but it's still a good listen nevertheless.
Poison Apple (Official Video): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vF3XOVFqOI8
Mind Crawler (Official Video): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MW_GWB9VQCc51. Necrophobic – Womb of Lilithu [Black/Death]
When you talk about consistency, I think that Necrophobic are or at least should be one of the bands mentioned. In their 20+ year career they've created 6 and now a 7th beautiful abomination unto our ears and the dark lord. Despite the many lineup changes over the years, this is still unmistakably Necrophobic: I've always thought the riffing style was kind of unique and it's still there but I think that it's been watered down a bit somehow, they're just not as interesting or immediately catchy as the riffs usually are. It also seems that Necrophobic have lost the slight tinge of death metal that has been a part of the Necrophobic sound for a long time and they're more of a straight black metal band, but they also spend a lot of time at the same moderate(ish) pace. Another minor complaint would be the length of the album, but having said that, there's not much I'd cut... but by the same token there's nothing that's really stuck with me despite repeated listens.
Furfur (Official Lyric Video): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PL4a-4urUPQ50. Kataklysm – Waiting For the End to Come [Melodic Death]
Well this is a pleasant surprise. I haven't listened to a new Kataklysm album since the very mediocre “In the Arms of Devastation” was released in 2006 and to be honest I thought they were trapped in a world of mediocrity. They sure showed me! I don't mean to suggest that this is a great album, it's far from that and a couple of the songs are just plain bad, but the rest is an enjoyable mix of death metal and melodic death that (in a sense) the Amon Amarth album should have been. They've managed to capture a sense of epicness and grandeur while making the riffs pretty interesting and stay true to death metal, in most cases. Hopefully Kataklysm can continue this upward trend, but as I said, there are a couple of awful songs and they'd best not take that particular 'low road'.
Elevate (Official Video): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g7Yw1jYMptI
Fire (Official Lyric Video): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ayVOskyUYyk49. Immolation – Kingdom of Conspiracy [Death]
I got into Immolation quite late into my journey into the realms of death metal, but albums such as “Close to a World Below” are absolutely superb. I was, however, slightly worried that this album would become indistinguishable from some of Immolation's substantial discography. I guess this worry has come partly true in that the classic Immolation sound is still there, but it's still as unique as any Immolation album. (Some albums I can't say I'm overly familiar with, mind you.) If anything this album has just a glimpse of that dark, oppressive evil atmosphere than made “Close to a World Below” so great and has the off-kilter riffs that Immolation are famed for, but it does suffer from every instrument trying to be louder than the other instruments and the drums sound far too artificial. Not that big of a deal, but stronger production and a bit more variety would have upped it's score. It's a solid album that any death metal fan will probably enjoy to an extent, but it's not a classic.
Kingdom of Conspiracy (Official Lyric Video): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gQ81n4mxaFA48. Avatarium – Avatarium [Doom]
I wouldn't be surprised to learn that you haven't heard of this band, but you will. After the demise of Candlemass last year with the slightly lackluster “Psalms for the Dead”, Leif Edling & co have moved on to new doomy horizons with Avatarium. It's basically the same lineup as Candlemass, but with the sublime Jennie-Ann Smith on the mic. I like the music, awesome Sabbathy riffs that Leif has conjured up since the year dot still fly around all over the place, interspersed with softer passages or indeed entire songs but unfortunately these songs can run on just a bit too long without anything of note happening. But Jennie-Ann really shines here, fitting her voice perfectly to the mood showing everything between wavering frailty and supreme power, literally and figuratively giving this album a voice.
Moonhorse (Official Lyric Video): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GWuGTYiQs8U
Boneflower (Official Video): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PsGErp0xLnA47. Gama Bomb – The Terror Tapes [Thrash]
I can't believe I've not listened to this band before. Well, that's not entirely true, I did catch half of their set about 4 years ago at a small club in Birmingham. Despite them probably being Northern Ireland's premier thrash band, I just thought they were going to be incredibly mediocre. Luckily my concerns were unfounded and they are certainly a quality band. They sound like Mortillery should. There's some lightning fast riffs and solos, fast and precise drumming and the vocalist spits out the words when he wants to, while being able to sing them well when needed to. Unfortunately they've got some stupid lyrics, but they can be clever as well as funny, and it's a decent enough album to headbang to nevertheless.
Terrorscope (Official Video): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tC5ljfysYGY
Shitting Yourself to Live (Official Video): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8zXH5GyTcJE46. Suffocation – Pinnacle of Bedlam [Death]
Suffocation have been the masters of brutality for over 20 years now, which is why this album is a little surprising. This album sounds a like more like your standard technical death metal band and is a lot more thrashy than I expected from Suffocation. The production is a lot clearer, which I think is for the better – I'm not one who yearns for the days of recording everything in a cardboard box and sticking the whole lot on a jumbled mess on a tape. I like to be able to hear the music, and you can definitely hear everything clearly, but it's also got a really abrasive sound that I can't imagine everyone getting to grips with. Anyway, there are some great moments on the album and a lot of great riffs and leads, but occasionally it all gets a bit boring. A bit run-of-the-mill. “Yeah we're just making another Suffocation album, k?” But the parts of the album where it's clear they've put some effort in are very much worth a listen and the video is very much worth a watch – how awesome is it to see a band having fun playing DM?!
As Grace Descends (Official Video): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jp1YSf_5mr845. Accu§er – Diabolic [Thrash]
Accu§er have been around the German thrash scene for over a quarter of a century but I had not heard of them until this year. Having looked at reviews of their previous albums I can see why – they've never done anything particularly special and have put out some atrocities (from what I've gathered from other reviewers) so it seems that their name never comes up anywhere. “Diabolic” should change that. It's modern thrash so it has a nice thick sound – very punchy and aggressive and consistently awesome throughout the album. There are some great riffs and beats and decent enough song writing – in fact the only major criticism for this album is that some of the songs are a little overlong. It's a very solid album all round but is just missing something to give it the wow factor.
Cannibal Insanity (Official Video): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EW9e3BRYzCc44. Warbringer – IV: Empires Collapse [Thrash]
Out of all the modern thrash 'revival' bands I've heard, Warbringer have never been my favourite. Not even close to it. I've on the whole found the music a little on the boring side and the vocalist's incessant shouting to be quite grating. This album is a little easier on the ears, with the vocals a little lower in the mix and on the whole this album is more interesting than any Warbringer I've heard to date, showing a wider variety of styles than we're used to from them. For instance, there's a couple of fun crossover type songs which I think helps out Warbringer, mixing things up, adding a bit of fun and not taking themselves as seriously. But there's still few letdown songs on here and I can't find a song on here that I think is awesome. But at the very least this is Warbringer's least annoying album so far, which is an achievement I guess.
Hunter-Seeker (Official Lyric Video): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3BfxYMI8L9Q
Black Sun, Black Moon (Official Video): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xGV08TCcW3w43. Fen – Dustwalker [Atmospheric Black]
The third album by these brits. I have to say that while I enjoyed the first two albums, but they don't exactly get regular listens. “Dustwalker” continues in the same vein as the previous albums, with black metal vocals and riffs being used in a more atmospheric (as opposed to in-your-face) way. I'd have given this album a much higher rating if it didn't have clean vocals. They're just not that good – kinda feeble and add nothing as far as I'm concerned. I see what they're going for, but they just don't work out. There are some quality tunes on here, but some are unfortunately ...not ruined... sullied by these vocals as well as either being slightly tedious or just underwhelming. On the plus side, I quite like the production which manages to have this shimmering kind of sound, together with the layered and reverberating vocals, it makes it all sound rather ethereal. I like that.
Consequence: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F0Zj3gtosAU42. Hate – Solarflesh: A Gospel of Radiant Divinity [Death/Black]
This album was on my list of albums to check out this year, as well as the rest of Hate's previous works, but I had to listen to this after the sad news that the bassist had died. I'd heard comparisons with their more famous Polish counterparts [modern-era] Behemoth but apparently Hate have had this style for much longer, not that it really matters, I'm not really bothered if anyone is a clone band as long as they're still innovative and good in their own right. Anywho, it's taken me a little longer to really get into this album than I expected, possibly because it's like a modern Behemoth album in many respects but is less in-your-face and ultimately more dull. There are flashes of brilliance, but many minutes can go by without anything interesting going on. But then again, those flashes were fucking brilliant, so it's hard to place this album overall.
Alchemy of Blood (Official Video): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cPcnp-bg_JI41. Deep Purple – Now What?! [Rock]
Unbelievably, this is the 19th full length album by the legends and prototype hard rock/metal band that really spawned the whole metal genre. With Sabbath of course. They aren't showing their age here and it really reminds me of the glory days of “Machine Head” and “In Rock”. Paice, Gillan and Glover are still the driving force with Don Airey taking keyboard duties (we know he's not Jon Lord, but he's still very competent) and Steve Morse is on guitar these days. Again it's fairly easy to tell he's no Richie Blackmore but he's got some great leads on this album. To be honest, I haven't really wanted to listen to Deep Purple or any classic rock bands recently and it has actually been really refreshing to hear such a great album from a band I was really ino a few years ago. Overall you can very much tell that this is a classic Deep Purple album, but it's also got a bit of a modern twist to it. When you're in the mood for a classic sounding, hard rockin' (or chilled out) album this will do very nicely indeed.
Vincent Price (Official Video): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BEWYRRaxFhU
Hell to Pay (Official Lyric Video): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9sAe7XW9WGE
All the Time in the World (Official Lyric Video): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VxPhHRDJ4TM40. Exhumed – Necrocracy [Death]
I was unfamiliar with Exhumed until this year and I have definitely been missing out. But I don't want to make it seem like this is the album I have been missing all my life, it's definitely a good death metal album but I have some concerns for the future... This album has some good, but not great riffs and some catchy but possibly slightly repetitive songs/similarly written songs with obvious catchy choruses. I fear that if I listened to this album many more times, I would grow quite weary of it. But for now I will enjoy it and the fairly awesome tunes it has to offer. It does however fall into the category of modern death metal that all sounds – to an extent – exactly the same, and there's not much here that is particularly ear-catching, if such a thing exists. This may seem an unfair mini review, so I do emplore you to give this album a listen but don't expect to be blown away and I doubt this will be looked back on at all as a great album in a few years because as good as it is, there's nothing of note to dwell on.
Coins Upon the Eyes (Official Video): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LUHWEEpz08I39. Pentagram Chile – The Malefice [Death/Thrash]
Bowing to the doom legends Pentagram and changing their name last year, this Chilean band that started life in '85 has finally released their first full length album. It's definitely got an old-school death/thrash vibe to it but has modern production that allows it to hit you square in the chin. This album runs amok with great riffs and beats to bang your head to, but (the version I listened to at least) is 91 minutes long and it does get tiresome when listened to in one go. As with most death/thrash there isn't enough variation to keep it awesome for that amount of time. I think a few songs could have also been cut down a couple of minutes but this is still a very welcome release from a country that I've probably never heard anything from before.
La Fiura (Official Lyric Video): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4krNvSBGvBk38. Oblivion – Called to Rise [Technical Death]
I was slightly wary when first listening to this album because I'd heard it in the same breath as “All Shall Perish”. On closer inspection there's only one member from that band in Oblivion, a fairly new band on the tech death scene with this being their debut. I was initially pretty blown away it has to be said! It's not a wanky kind of technical death, they've got a real sense of melody that they've put into the riffs and I found that it all flows together rather well. But then again, It sounds a lot like Spawn of Possession/Beyond Creation but without the omnipresent fretless bass. That's not a bad thing in itself, but there's better technical death metal out there. And 3 guitarist is perhaps unnecessary, but a good start nevertheless.
Black Veils of Justice (Official Video): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NOAXTnOFzRE
Multiverse (Official Video): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tkE3dB9Xl2I37. Clutch – Earth Rocker [Rock]
Upon the first listen, I had no real expectations for this album other than to be above average and rockin'. I guess in that respect it's all I thought it would be. On first inspection it seemed to be a bit more middle-of-the-road rock than Clutch ought to be. Repeated listens started to showcase it's true worth – which is substantial. There's a wide variety of songs, from the fast paced, aggressive “Unto the Breach” to the slow meandering dirge “Gone Cold” and everything in between executed with the level of quality you expect from Clutch. It's not amazing from start to finish by any means, but there are about the same amount of great tunes as you'd find on any other Clutch album... Maybe barring “Beale Street to Oblivion”, but Neil sounds like he's at his best on this album. It's just a shame that the chorus and maniacal laugh in the title track is so fucking lame.
Crucial Velocity (Official Video): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M3kwC9VtfxM
Earth Rocker (Official Lyric Video): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qWXzLZSNkDI36. Death Angel – The Dream Calls for Blood [Thrash]
Death Angel's career has been fairly mediocre ever since the classic “The Ultra-Violence”. I think that's fair to say. The last couple of albums especially were particularly bland 'modern thrash', but in my opinion this album is what modern Death Angel should sound like. It's modern, thrashy, aggressive and slightly groovy but in this instance there are actually some interesting ideas and riffs to keep you entertained. As you'd expect the production is great, with lovely audible bass and superb clarity for every instrument. The last couple of albums in comparison were much more 'brickwalled' in terms of production so an improvement there as well. I can only hope Death Angel continue to improve and create another album as excellent as their first, but this isn't missing the mark by that much.
The Dream Calls For Blood (Official Lyric Video): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2WVL0VjBrjg35. Gorguts – Coloured Sands [Technical Death]
Gorguts has always been a strange band to me – I generally have to be in the right mood to listen to a Gorguts album (particularly “Obscura”), but this one just seemed from the start to fit into place a lot more easily than the rest. This may be partly due to listening to it straight after Ulcerate's album but my point remains; it's an easier listen which in my opinion is in Gorguts favour. It may also mean that if you were really into Gorguts big time previously then you may find this album a bit boring, it's hard to say, but I think the riffs are more accessible and easy to follow that some of Gorguts' preceding work yet is still a complicated piece of work with a very thick and dense atmosphere. That said, I think my favourite song on the album is the 'classical' styled instrumental “The Battle of Chamdo”, so erm... Yeah. Frankly, I might not have given this album enough time/listens to really sink in, so take it's position with a pinch of salt but it could equally move up or down the chart.
Forgotten Arrows (Official Lyric Video): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vk7nb-idmdI34. Annihilator – Feast [Thrash]
What a pleasant experience it is to see Annihilator back at the top of their game. They've had a very topsy-turvy career and now, following the self titled album of 2010, they've equalled their personal best of 2 good albums in a row! These are very different days and sounds to the late 80s of course, but I very much enjoy the 'new' Annihilator. There's still the fast paced awesome riffs, licks and leads from the mastermind Jeff Waters, but they've got a modern slightly groovy twist and it's pretty awesome to be honest. There's a good mix of songs and speeds and it's all both interesting and entertaining but I can't say I'm that enamoured with the ballad. It must however be said that I'm not a ballad kinda guy. A well thought out and executed album as I hope we can expect next time around as well.
No Way Out (Official Video): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U5PDr8lstKE
Deadlock (Official Video): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sbQqe_u1nsQ33. Sorcery – Arrival at Six [Death]
Sorcery join the legions of bands to have put out an album during the early days of a scene and disbanded for 20 odd years, to reform seemingly on a whim. It must be to do with the rise of the internet and many bands from back in the day reading reviews of their albums by present day metal heads who still enjoy their albums. The internet has made music much more accessible for everyone, which I can only see is a good thing. It's a quality death metal release in old-school style and fits in well among the many other old bands still churning out strong albums. Awesome tremolo picked riffs abound sandwiched by heavy-as-fuck slow, pounding sections. Considering the length of time they've been split up, it's played with plenty of energy and is a fun listen, but it will not be regarded as a classic, but you may find yourself humming some of the riffs in days to come.
Warbringer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u67pyB4Ol2I32. Horna - Askel Lähempänä Saatanaa [Black]
It's taken me a lot of listens for me to get anywhere with this album. Finally I worked out why I keep getting distracted and end up not really listening to the album – the guitars are a little too quiet. But to be fair I think I just wasn't listening closely enough - just turn it up and you'll be headbanging away from the start. It's quite raw and visceral in delivery and sound but that doesn't make it unlistenable somehow and actually creates the dark ritualistic atmosphere. Slightly surprising for me is that there's some good variation in the songs. From the furious blasting mayhem to the pounding rhythmic nightmares, Horna have created a superb album, but it is occasionally lacking in more interesting ideas.
Yhdeksäs Portti: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CGZ5u5wS06s31. Hail of Bullets – III: The Rommel Chronicles [Death]
If you're looking for metal about war, then look no further than the Dutch Bolt Thrower as I have just named them. A little less groove, but with all the heaviness and riffing that you could possibly want. Martin Van Drunen spits venom throughout the album, in his very dutch manner and I couldn't approve much more on that front. A possible criticism is the fairly enormous amount of chugs, but they are huge and generally appropriate although sometimes too huge for the lead to be heard clearly. The drums don't add an awful lot, but keep a solid beat going and work well through the faster paced bits, but feel a bit non-existant when the pace is slowed. Much like last year's Asphyx album you will find some pretty awesome death metal here, but as with Asphyx, you'll have to turn it down. LOUD!
Swoop of the Falcon (Official Lyric Video): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_rmyI5Zmwhw
Pour le Merite (Promotional Video): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2KiGFsj_RP830. Autopsy – The Headless Ritual [Death]
Just 2 years after the pretty excellent “Macabre Eternal” that rekindled (almost) everybody's love for Autopsy, we were left wanting more – it was like if they improved just slightly then there could create a modern classic of a death metal album. Did they? In short, no. If anything they took a step backwards and left out some of the awesome, gruesome atmosphere that I thought made the last album so great. Well it's there in part I guess, but the overall feeling I get from this album is just that it's good. I think there are a few too many solos that are just notes, there's no real melody to them and some of them drag on for far too long. There's nothing great here and I can't really find anything to mark it down on, but it's nothing special.
Arch Cadaver: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=txcCgdvlApE29. Endstille – Kapitulation 2013 [Black]
Only a couple of years ago, I was listening to Endstille a lot. It only included the two preceding albums mind you, but I enjoyed them for a while and then all of a sudden stopped enjoying it. For the most part I find them a bit boring now, and slightly to grating to my delicate ears. So far however, this album has continued to be an enjoyable listen, I think because it is more varied than the two albums I've heard, especially with the excellent cover of Sodom's “Blasphemer” being the meaty filling in this particular sandwich and breaking the album up nicely. Even the song “Monotonous 2013” is much less monotonous than the original version, and really sums up what's happening here: Endstille are making interesting music now. And it's good.
Aborted (Official Video): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M8eClXJO6w028. Torture Division – The Worship + The Sacrifice (Demo) [Death]
I've lumped these two demos into one section because together they only make 6 songs, and they're both equally as excellent. There's really not much bad you can say about Torture Division. All 3 members have been in some very great Swedish bands (Vomitory, Dark Funeral, Entombed...) and it really shows. They can write some really good, catchy death metal tunes and they sound great thanks to the production work of Dan Swanö. They also have a 'free music' policy, where they release all their music (mostly 3 song-demos at this point) free of charge, as long as you spread the word, burn it to CDs and give to your friends etc. So here's my publicity for them: Torture Division are a brilliant death metal band and I implore you to check them out!
Official Website: http://www.torturedivision.net/downloadgraphy27. Cathedral – The Last Spire [Stoner/Doom]
The final chapter in the epic saga that is Cathedral's illustrious career. Would it live up to such classic albums as “Forest of Equilibrium” and “The Garden of Unearthly Delights”? Yes. Yes it does. I think this is a bit more of a return to doom, with the stoner side of Cathedral barely getting a look in. The overall feeling of this album is darker than the last Cathedral efforts and there's certainly not a “Midnight Mountain” to be seen. Cathedral sound great on this album, a strong bass presence is forever driving the great-sounding guitars along, while the drums pounding out a solid rhythmic procession. I've never been completely sold on Lee Dorian's vocals, but he sounds as good as ever on this album – take that how you will. So to sum up, this is definitely a magnum opus for Cathedral that sort of takes influences from everything that has gone before it and ends ultimately how they started, dooming 'til death.
Tower of Silence (Official Video): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9-BOoO7AYK026. Eyeconoclast – Drones of the Awakening [Death/Thrash]
I have to admit that I have a soft spot for pretty much anything that comes under the description “death/thrash,” but I hope you take that as I've listened to a lot of death/thrash and rate this highly among the albums I've listened to. It's an all out assault on the senses from the start – riffs fly at you constantly, coupled with ridiculous amounts of fast double-kick work but as well as brutal and lightning fast riffs, there are usually cool melodic riffs overlaying it. This style of music is not original by any means, it's blatant worship of The Crown in their heyday and even includes a cover of Executioner (Slayer of the Light) which is well done. I for one don't mind anybody recreating The Crown's earlier sound if they do it this well. A little more variation in the song tempos/structures wouldn't go amiss though, you're pummelled from start to finish with no let up... Would it kill them to slow down just a tad?
Rise of the Orgamechanism (Official Lyric Video): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6aQXUXJ0yMo25. Alice in Chains – The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here [Rock]
It's no secret that I'm a bit of an AiC fanboy, but this is another quality release. It wasn't an instant hit though, it took a few listens to 'get'; much like the fantastic predecessor, Black Gives Way to Blue. However, I don't think the highs are as great as on previous albums and some of the lows (the ballady pop songs) are pretty mediocre by AiC standards. So it's still up there (because it's an Alice in Chains album) but it's not as brilliant as I hoped it would be. There are still some great slightly doomy/stoner riffs overlayed with fantastic vocal melodies that you would expect, but I feel like it's lost that darker edge that Alice in Chains always had over the other grunge acts. I would have also liked to hear DuVall sing more often on the album. Sure Jerry has improved his voice since his solo days but DuVall is a great singer and could do with being let off the leash a bit. It also loses a few points because Cantrell looks odd with short hair.
Hollow (Official Video):http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hmSeWqmlqYs
Stone (Official Video): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9KmYFY5oOvM
The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here (Official Video): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r0_2Wq9Aos4
Voices (Official Video): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7YDPNl7PeUU24. Nocturnal Graves – ...From the Bloodline of Cain [Black/Thrash]
I've seen some bad reviews of their first album “Satan's Cross”, but I loved it (and pretty much everything else black/thrash). Late last year we heard that the longtime Deströyer 666 guitarist Shrapnel had left and joined forces with co-Aussies Nocturnal Graves. This could only be a good thing, and you can hear Shrapnel's razor sharp guitar tone and wailing leads a mile off. He's also seemingly brought with him a few awesome riffs. That said, they're all similar-ish with no real let up in the tempo for extended periods and some of the songs run together a little bit. But if you're a fan of Deströyer 666 or any black/thrash band I imagine you'll get some enjoyment out of this album.
Promethean War (Promotional Video): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vX8tUIVErtQ23. Wormed – Exodromos [Technical Death]
Maybe I've just got a soft spot for this album because of its scientific (or at least sci-fi) lyrical themes. There's a song called “Solar Neutrinos”! Even so, I think I can still judge the album on music alone, and it's very good indeed. Being a particularly brutal form of technical death metal, I have to be in a certain mood to listen to the album in full but when in the mood it is quite the experience! It's pretty much an unrelenting assault of brutality upon the ears, but there is brilliant songwriting, superb riffs and drumming and technicality that will low your mind. If I was to be critical about anything, It would be the slightly monotonous and trying-to-be-overly-brutal vocals. But when listening to that album, I find I can listen to the album without listening to the vocals if you catch my drift.
Tautochrone (Official Video): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L6WSIu7cSYQ22. Pestilence – Obsideo [Death]
The Pestilence reunion is a thing of legend – it's been really disappointing up to this point. As a result I almost missed this album entirely, but luckily I did listen because this is really good stuff. It's not Pestilence from the 80s/90s of course but what we have is some awesomely heavy music. It just sounds great, but the riffs are cool, catchy and slightly odd with cool drumming and decent vocals. They're definitely dutch in the vocal department which hopefully means something to you. Despite the similarity of a few tracks, the album manages to not outstay it's welcome and there isn't really any filler but I feel it lacks a bit of atmosphere and what it lacks in that it makes up for in pure headbanging fury. It's not another classic album like “Consuming Impulse” by any means, but it's really well executed modern death metal.
Necro Morph (Official Lyric Video): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=npjYQCc3OIA21. Voivod – Target Earth [Progressive Thrash]
An album of this quality from Voivod shouldn't be a surprise, but it kind of is. The main guitarist and driving force behind Voivod, Denis 'Piggy' D'Amour, had departed this world and has been replaced by Daniel 'Chewy' Mongrain from Martyr. Martyr are a superb technical death/thrash band if you aren't aware and when you think about it, they do have slightly overlapping styles – sci-fi orientated themes and robotic, crazy riffs so it wasn't such a ridiculous fit. The Martyr cover of “Brain Scan” shows how well a Voivod song fits on their album. Anyway, it is great to hear Voivod sounding so fresh again – gone is the prog rock/metal, and back is the mechanical prog thrash that you will remember from the earlier days, but with a sound fit for 2013. Maybe the soaring highs of those albums aren't quite there to be found on “Target Earth”, but with it's one of the most consistently good album they've done to this day.
Target Earth (Offical Video): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=itHcrRaZhXs
Kluskap O' Kom (Offical Video): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SyvR6kOy5p420. Watain – The Wild Hunt [Black]
Oh man, I've been looking forward to this album pretty much since “Lawless Darkness” came out. Watain are one of my favourite bands, and haven't really done anything bad, apart from possibly the debut. This album however is a bit of a departure from the norm. Well, a bit anyway. Most of the album is the standard awesome black metal that you would expect from Watain, but there's a few... Well I don't want to call them stinkers, but they're not black metal. That obviously doesn't make them inherently dull, but they are a bit unfortunately. Watain are trying to incorporate some new elements into their music, which is no bad thing, but they need a bit of work. And trying to make an 8 minute song out of not very much isn't recommended. Overall it's still definitely a listen that you won't forget.
All That May Bleed (Official Lyric Video): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WgKyfrdcDwY
Outlaw (Official Video): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DJvTodICIVU19. Havok – Unnatural Selection [Thrash]
Havok have been one of the best of the new generation thrash bands, full of raw speed and aggression and while not that innovative, different enough to keep it interesting. I like the title and theme of their third album, “Unnatural Selection”, but on the whole I think they've let their music quality slide slightly. They've wandered too far into Evile's mid-paced snoozefest territory. Maybe a little harsh because it only hurts a couple of songs on the album, but it is a bit of a change for Havok. There are some great riffs thrown around this album, but interestingly for a thrash album, I find myself focussing on the fairly awesome vocals a lot of the time. They cut through the instruments without drowning them out and they actually become the centrepiece of the album, with some really awesome music to back them up with.
Give Me Liberty...Or Give Me Death (Official Video): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0OGTvIeiYjg
Worse Than War (Official Video): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Vh6AeU_Kg018. Blut aus Nord – What Once Was... Liber III (EP) [Atmospheric Black]
I'm sure anyone who has followed BaN in recent years will be glad to know that they have reverted back to their 'original' sound with this EP. The 777 trilogy of albums saw them go from their quite unique black metal orientated dissonant ambience styled riffing to almost darkwave industrial type thing. I thought it was still pretty good, but you got the feeling that BaN were on a downward spiral with that trilogy. The EP in question here has gone back to their original sound found on most of their earlier albums and it comes with plenty of excellent tunes that have really got me in the mood to hear their 3rd album in the Memoria Vetusta trilogy next year. A good (and quite long) EP reminding us what BaN can do.
III: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Id—W0O7m9M17. Disfigured Dead – Relentless [Death]
I was very impressed when I came across Disfigured Dead a few years ago. Their debut had a certain messy old-school sounding charm to it, and some cool songs to boot. Three years later and we're given what sounds like any other generic modern death metal album. Luckily it's better than that 'average' that I've just made up in terms of riffs, song writing and overall feeling, but the shift in sound is rather dramatic. It's just a really good album from start to finish with definite vibes from Morbid Angel and Vader coming across in droves, but without ripping them off. Merely paying tribute to the styles of two great bands in a superb way.
Punishing Atonement: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pacL86OPDd16. Rotting Christ – Κατά τον δαίμονα εαυτού [Progressive Black]
My first taster of these Greek black metal veterans is a very good one indeed! Maybe lumping them into black metal is wrong, they've evolved over their career into gothic metal and then into this which I would call progressive folk/black metal. It's a very interesting album – all the tunes appear to be about various different ancient religions/figureheads/cultures and the music fits perfectly in my opinion. There is a strong pagan/ritualistic epic feel to all the songs with the hints of black metal I had expected when listening for the first time. I'm sure a lot of people might say this album is overproduced, well I would counter with “shut up and listen to the music!” If you manage to get into the almost ritualistic frame of mind that the album was written in, you will love it. Repeated listens do single out some of the chord progressions as being pretty boring, but I can't hold that against it because of the overall excellence of this album.
Χ Ξ Σ (Official Video): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OJbqplkBBv8
In Yumen/Xibalba (Official Lyric Video): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wdasUo-RDJA15. Sedulity – The Valley of Dying Stars [Death/Thrash]
Sedulity are a fantastic new band from Arizona playing what may eventually become the pinnacle of music as far as I'm concerned. If I were to describe the album I would call it a cross between later Death and “By Inheritance” era Artillery and with the vocalist from Warbringer. It's really a fantastic combination, but at the moment hasn't reached it's full potential. The songs are generally nicely flowing between melodic prog sections and full on thrash. The melodic sections can verge on beautiful and the thrash parts can approach brutal. Or at least as brutal as that guitar sound can get – it could do with more punch really. Apart from that, my only other gripe is some of the riffs aren't very interesting – galloping riffs particularly. If Sedulity can build on this very promising debut, they will certainly make a name for themselves. But they won't because they split up soon after. Shame.
Circled in Blood: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z65hLdSBJQU14. Tribulation – The Formulas of Death [Death]
Sweden has always been one of the best locations to look for great death metal. Well, great anything really and Tribulation are no exception. They are a fairly recently formed band, putting out one album prior to this (which I must get hold of...) They're also not trying to recreate the old Dismember/Entombed/Carnage era of death metal – they've got their own moderately thrashy sound with slight progressive leanings and it works well. It is quite a long album, but despite a few uninspired moments, it is of such great quality overall and varied enough (encompassing a surprising amount of different styles), with plenty of great catchy riffs to keep you occupied until the end. Every time I come back to this record it seems to improve as well.
Suspiria de Profundis: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8tUUz7aJhMU13. Cultes des Ghoules – Henbane [Black]
It's taken a few listens for me to get into this album from a band that I'd heard the name of before, but not any previous works. I think the first couple of play-throughs I wasn't listening closely enough – possibly because this is more raw than most of the black metal I tend to listen to. It's a very atmospheric record and perhaps even more black/doom than a black metal album. While there are the blasting riff-fest sections, it's often mid-paced and driven by the bass and plodding rhythms of the drums and only layered with the guitar lead melodies and often otherworldly vocals. Eerie shrieks and rasps are the majority of the vocals, but they are accompanied by pretty much every other type you can think of and they are all performed excellently. This album is for playing in a darkened room, and solemnly nodding your head. Or preforming a satanic ritual if that's more your cup of tea.
Vintage Black Magic: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MMW5qxpbqWc12. Skeletonwitch – Serpents Unleashed [Blackened Thrash]
I don't know where you've been hiding these last few years if you haven't heard the name Skeletonwitch. They've been fairly widely publicised, and rightly so! They're back again with their quite melodious, harmonious form of blackened thrash. Skeletonwitch always seemed somehow refreshing, to hear such awesome melodies without them being cheesy and having the raw heaviness that makes them super-awesome. It's fun and melodious without being cheesy, which is where I've come to loathe power and folk metal generally. There are a couple of songs (notably the song link below) that fall a little below par, but on the whole another awesome album from Skeletonwitch.
I Am Of Death (Official Video): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zPPPGMGNg8I11. Abyssal – Novit enim Dominus qui sunt eius [Death/Doom/Black]
Not making the top spot this year is Abyssal. “Denouement” blew me away last year and unfortunately their sophomore album hasn't lived up to my probably unrealistic expectations. It's still a quality release, but I find that the riffs don't gel together quite as excellently as on “Denouement” and the production isn't as clear in places and riffs get lost in the over-fuzzyness of the guitars. I also got a bit lost in some of the longer doom passages that are more prevalent on this release, but that's just me I think, the riffs are still good. Overall this is much more of an atmospheric piece of work, but that's not to say that it's style over substance. Oh sure it's still way up on the list, but not as good as I expected.
The Last King: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kpD60frWLZQ10. Grave – Morbid Ascent (EP) [Death]
If you heard Grave's full-length album “Endless Procession of Souls” from 2012 then you'll know exactly what you're in for with this EP. These legends of OSDM are at it again with another high-quality release. It's all you could want out of an EP really, 2 original tracks, one cover (of Satyricon's “Possessed”) and 2 different versions of songs from the latest album. Arguably the two remixes (actually one remix and a new version) are a little pointless but the songs are so good that I don't care. And actually the two new songs are, if I had any criticism at all, very similar to songs from “Endless Procession of Souls” in terms of song structures and riff patterns. But they're so good that I don't care about unoriginality. They're only ripping themselves off and they're really good at it!
Venial Sin (Official Lyric Video): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4jCVfCvQRjM9. Mammoth Grinder – Underworlds [Death]
Another new band to my ears but with two prior albums to their name, Mammoth Grinder is the first band in a while that I've really wanted to listen to simply because their name is so awesome! And not only that, but it's pretty apt too. The album that was presented to me is only 28 minutes in length, but my fuck is it one crushing journey through the underworld(s). As it goes it quite simple with no song breaking 4 minutes but it's incredibly effective because you can just bang your fuckin' head. And once the album is done you'll be going back to track one before you've had time to say “fuck silence”.
Paragon Pusher: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t1RI2dyuzI48. Leprous – Coal [Progressive]
I'm slightly surprised that I hadn't heard of these guys before, and that they aren't more well known. They spend a good chunk of time as Ihsahn's backing band for fucks sake! Just from that you can tell that these are an immensely talented bunch of Norwegians, and this is what they like to do in their spare time... I haven't so far listened to their previous two albums but with this effort, I may very well have to go and listen to them! There's a lot of interesting ideas going on and every song has its own character, with a guest appearance from an aforementioned character in the last song. Einar Solberg uses his (pretty amazing) voice well throughout the album. In fact it's his voice that pretty much carries this album because if you were to just listen to the guitar parts you would probably be bored quite quickly in several songs. But put it all together and it's pretty epic - “See how the formula turns into coal” - the way the off-kilter guitars contrast with the flowing vocals is pretty awesome. It's the best prog I've heard in a while.
The Cloak (Official Video): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_9o2nVY8FZ07. Carcass – Surgical Steel [Death]
I was really starting to think that the legendary Carcass were never going to record anything new, but rest on their laurels and continue touring with the same old set lists. I'm lucky enough to have seen them twice and I would have no problems seeing them carry on with that! Of course when they finally do get round to making a new album there's always the worry when a band that haven't made any new music in years decide to put out some new stuff – will it be any good? Actually the answer is quite often “yes”. This is no exception. If it could be compared to any previous albums (which are all remarkably different) then it would be “Heartwork”, but with better production. It's got many similar traits in terms of riffing and the song structures and, like “Heartwork”, there isn't a bad song to be heard. Carry on, gentlemen.
Captive Bolt Pistol (Official Lyric Video): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nSsrKl6HtAw
Unfit For Human Consumption (Official Video): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5KKYJD09qCk6. Vreid – Welcome Farewell [Black]
This is fairly surprising for me, I can't believe I had no idea that this band existed until this year. That's incredible given my Windir fanyboyism of '07/'08. While I'm still a big fan of Windir's works, I'm glad that I'm not into them so much now because Vreid are not Windir and I think a younger me would be very disappointed by that. For a black metal band, Vreid initially come off as quite soft – the riffs are much more melodic – they are almost a black 'n' roll band, to follow the train of thought from death 'n' roll. I was expecting much more intensity from the music, which was initially disappointing but subsequent listens showed me that intensity isn't what Vreid are all about and that what they do, they do very well.
The Reap (Official Video): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pJ4Z_LjtZLw5. Obliteration – Black Death Horizon [Death]
Since I really started delving into the depths of death metal a few years ago, Obliteration has been mentioned a few times in the same breath as such awesome modern DM bands as Execration and Karnarium but despite having released two albums previously, it took me until this year to listen to them. I've been missing out it seems – there's some really high quality death metal to be found here with an organic, oldschool sound to it. As such, there's plenty of dark, clinging atmosphere helped by the wonderful bass presence. I really like the drums n this album as well, they remind me of Nekromantheon's drum styles and I really approve of them too. I shall have to listen to Obliteration's earlier albums as well. Colour me impressed.
Goat Skull Crown (Promotional Video): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ufm0ZEMnZsI4. Protector – Reanimated Homunculus [Death/Thrash]
This is possibly the greatest surprise of the year; Protector haven't done anything serious for about 20 years (although officially split only about 10 years ago) and returned with a fairly monstrous bang. This album is everything I love about music, it's fast, aggressive, it's (surprisingly) fun, it's got catchiness and it's got the riffs and headbangingability (you heard me) that makes it an absolutely superb listen. It's not overproduced and in fact sounds a little simple and primitive, but that's actually it's strengths with many bands now sounding pretty much the same in a digitized way. It's not perfect but there's very little wrong with this album. Especially if you like death/thrash as much as I do.
Reanimated Homunculus: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qeToGhoDPm03. Aosoth – IV – An Arrow in Heart [Black]
I started to delve more into the depths of metal around the time that “III” was released back in 2011 and I did very much like that album and the style of black metal that Aosoth played on that album. Two years later and we have “An Arrow In Heart” which provokes the same sort of “holy fuck” reaction as Mgla's “With Hearts Toward None” did last year. Ah, you poor non-native English speakers. Anyway, this album continues where “III” left off and maybe that's exactly what I wanted, but I really like this album nevertheless. It's kind of raw and grimy, but has such clear production with everything being audible. The songs have clearly had a lot of thought put into how they are crafted and that's backed up with some superb riffs. Brilliant stuff.
Ritual Marks of Penitence (Official Video): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=me6jwsEPKXc2. Dream Death – Somnium Excessum [Thrash/Doom]
Listening to this record begs the question “is this album really from 2013?” Yes it is, but it sounds exactly how Dream Death left off 25 years ago following the superb “Journey into Mystery.” They've got an interesting style – they sound like a late-80s thrash band, but it's definitely doom – an odd combination that manages to work fantastically well. “Somnium Excessum” makes really good use of simple riffs, and the songwriting is very good with ever changing songs and dynamics that is great to hear. It's supremely evil, dark and brooding and you can really bang your head to it at the same time. All in all I think they've done what a lot of reuniting bands have failed to do and actually eclipse their earlier, often classic, albums.
Feast: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MHOmKIbshU81. Necrowretch – Putrid Death Sorcery [Death/Black]
French metal often has a a very avant-garde feel to it, with the possible exception of Aosoth and now Necrowretch. The album title almost describes what the album is; putrid in terms of its raw, primitive, gruesome sound. Death, because it's on the whole death metal, and sorcery sort of describes the fantastic almost demonic incantation-like black metal style raspy vocals. Really, you've got to hear the vocals on this album. The overall style of the music is almost the perfect combination of death and black metal – the brutality and savage nature of death metal mixed with the almost trance like state fast tremolo picked black metal riffs can put you into sometimes. Is that just me? Oh... Well it's a fantastic album. Listen to it.
Putrid Death Sorcery (Official Video): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cZXjp30gn7k
Ripping Souls of Sinners (Promotional Video): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NdOgF8bVBqo
1. Necrowretch – Putrid Death Sorcery [Death/Black] 95%
2. Dream Death – Somnium Excessum [Doom/Thrash] 95%
3. Aosoth – IV – An Arrow in Heart [Black] 95%
4. Protector – Reanimated Homunculus [Death/Thrash] 90%
5. Obliteration – Black Death Horizon [Death] 90%
6. Vreid – Welcome Farewell [Black] 90%
7. Carcass – Surgical Steel [Death] 90%
8. Leprous – Coal [Progressive] 90%
9. Mammoth Grinder – Underworlds [Death] 90%
10. Grave – Morbid Ascent (EP) [Death] 90%
11. Abyssal – Novit enim Dominus qui sunt eius [Death/Black/Doom] 90%
12. Skeletonwitch – Serpents Unleashed [Blackened Thrash] 85%
13. Cultes des Ghoules – Henbane [Black] 85%
14. Tribulation – The Formulas of Death [Death] 85%
15. Sedulity – The Valley of Dying Stars [Progressive Thrash] 85%
16. Rotting Christ – Κατά τον δαίμονα εαυτού [Progressive Black] 85%
17. Disfigured Dead – Relentless [Death] 85%
18. Blut Aus Nord – What Once Was... Liber III (EP) [Atmospheric Black] 85%
19. Havok – Unnatural Selection [Thrash] 85%
20. Watain – The Wild Hunt [Black] 85%
21. Voivod – Target Earth [Progressive Thrash] 85%
22. Pestilence – Obsideo [Death] 85%
23. Wormed – Exodromos [Brutal Technical Death] 85%
24. Nocturnal Graves - ...From the Bloodline of Cain [Black/Thrash] 85%
25. Alice in Chains – The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here [Rock] 85%
26. Eyeconoclast – Drones of the Awakening [Death/Thrash] 85%
27. Cathedral – The Last Spire [Stoner/Doom] 85%
28. Torture Division – The Worship + The Sacrifice (Demo) [Death] 85%
29. Endstille – Kapitulation 2013 [Black] 85%
30. Autopsy – The Headless Ritual [Death] 80%
31. Hail of Bullets – III: The Rommel Chronicles [Death] 80%
32. Horna - Askel Lähempänä Saatanaa [Black] 80%
33. Sorcery – Arrival at Six [Death] 80%
34. Annihilator – Feast [Thrash] 80%
35. Gorguts – Coloured Sands [Technical Death] 80%
36. Death Angel – The Dream Calls For Blood [Thrash] 80%
37. Clutch – Earth Rocker [Rock] 80%
38. Oblivion – Called to Rise [Technical Death] 80%
39. Pentagram Chile – The Malefice [Death/Thrash] 80%
40. Exhumed – Necrocracy [Death] 80%
41. Deep Purple – Now What?! [Rock] 80%
42. Hate – Solarflesh: A Gospel of Radiant Divinity [Death/Black] 75%
43. Fen – Dustwalker [Atmospheric Black] 75%
44. Warbringer – IV: Empires Collapse [Thrash] 75%
45. Accu§er – Diabolic [Thrash] 75%
46. Suffocation – Pinnacle of Bedlam [Technical Death] 75%
47. Gama Bomb – The Terror Tapes [Thrash] 75%
48. Avatarium – Avatarium [Doom] 75%
49. Immolation – Kingdom of Conspiracy [Death] 70%
50. Kataklysm – Waiting For the End to Come [Melodic Death] 70%
51. Necrophobic – Womb of Lilithu [Black/Death] 70%
52. Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats – Mind Control [Psychedelic Rock/Doom] 70%
53. Convulse – Evil Prevails [Death] 70%
54. Bong Goblin – Buddy Waters (EP) [Stoner/Death] 65%
55. Sacriphyx – The Western Front [Death] 65%
56. Sodom – Epitome of Torture [Thrash] 65%
57. Deathchain – Ritual Death Metal [Death] 65%
58. Deceptor – Chains of Delusion (EP) [Thrash] 65%
59. Lost Society – Fast Loud Death [Thrash] 60%
60. Caladan Brood – Echoes of Battle [Epic/Atmospheric Black] 60%
61. Evile – Skull [Thrash] 60%
62. Peste Noire – Peste Noire [Black] 60%
63. Violator – Scenes of Brutality [Thrash] 60%
64. Ihsahn – Das Seelebrechen [Progressive] 55%
65. Metal Church – Generation Nothing [Heavy] 55%
66. Artillery – Legions [Thrash] 55%
67. Torture Squad – Esquadrāo de Tortura [Death/Thrash] 55%
68. Onslaught – VI [Thrash] 50%
69. Darkthrone – The Underground Resistance [Heavy/Black] 50%
70. Suidakra – Eternal Definace [Melodic Death/Folk] 50%
71. Amon Amarth – Deceiver of the Gods [Melodic Death] 50%
72. Finntroll – Blodsvept [Folk] 45%
73. Megadeth – Super Collider [Metal] 45%
74. Ulcerate – Vermis [Technical Death] 40%
75. Katatonia – Dethroned and Uncrowned [Acoustic] 40%
76. Ghost – Infestissumam [Heavy Metal] 40%
77. Mortillery – Origin of Extinction [Thrash] 35%
78. Orphaned Land – All is One [Folk/Power] 35%
79. Antediluvian – λόγος [Black/Death] 30%
80. Skagos – Anarchic [Atmospheric/Post Black] 30%
81. Altar of Plagues – Teethed Glory and Injury [Post-Black] 20%