While I’ve been playing with so much metal in the last few months I’ve wondered about my taste, which isn’t the same as yours or anyone else’s. Your taste is also unique. Two or three people with a common interest in certain types of metal may agree on their favourite album of a particular year. If those three were to make their top ten lists for just three or four years, however, it’s almost 100% certain there would be three quite different sets of lists.
What is taste? Can it be defined? There is some concensus among critics about what is good. There is never universal agreement. Music is too intangible and personal.
What then about the bottom-line question: What is the best music? I have only one answer to that, and it’s been my answer for many decades… the best music is the music you enjoy the most. It would be gravely presumptuous of anyone to tell you otherwise.
Ultimately there are only two types of music for anyone – music you like and music you don’t.
~ Dark Metal Cat, defending his chorus with a marauding stray cat last night
Posted by WarpRider
Album: IV – One With The Storm
Release Date: 3 Nov 14
Length: 79 Minutes (includes two remixed tracks)
Style: Hard to define
Previous Albums: Guided By Fire (2007); Isolation Songs (2009); Until Fear No Longer Defines Us (2011)
FFO: Paradise Lost, Katatonia. Opeth Read the rest of this entry →
Since this is the last week of my year-by-year hit parades, I’m overindulging myself completely by posting my top 25 songs of last year. This’ll be good practice for making my list of my top albums of 2014.
Next week I shall reveal the true identity of Dark Metal Cat unless he gets me first with his very big paws and his very, very sharp claws.
Posted by Irmelinis
Tracks: 10 Length: 69 minutes
Previous releases: Blinding White Noise: Illusion and Chaos 2012
Label: Basick Records
Recommended for fans of: Karnivool, Deftones, TesseracT, Steven Wilson, Tool
Posted by WarpRider
Album: …And We Explode
Length: 45 Minutes
Style: Progressive / Alt / Grunge / Hard Rock
Previous Albums: This is their debut
Location: San Francisco, CA, USA
FFO: Deftones, Foo Fighters, Weezer, Soundgarden, Nirvana, U2 Read the rest of this entry →
A couple of the songs that top my list for 2013 are rather long. They’re worth it, says Dark Metal Cat. Aeon Zen’s song is my ideal of what a prog metal song should be. Of course it leans strongly towards the prog quarter. The Wintersun song embodies just about everything I love about harder melodic metal. It’s one of the best songs I’ve heard in the last 64 years, 9 months and 5 days.
The shorter number by Diablo Swing Orchestra is so… out there… that it sets the bar for many types of experimental metal.
Of all the Oriental metal bands from the Middle East, few can rival the international renown and the level of esteem held by Orphaned Land, from Israel. The sheer quality and immense variety of their music has won them fans across many metal genres in numerous nations of the world.
The line-up has changed over the decades that Orphaned Land has been performing and recording. There are and have been Jewish and Arab members of the band. The over-riding theme of their music – peace and unity – is very evident in this song, rated their most popular in a number of polls.
No doubt there are some who will complain, “All is not one, you blasphemer.” Tsk.
Genre: Beautifully blurred; sometimes progressive death, sometimes orchestral groove, sometimes breakout extreme metal
Release date: 15 September 2014
Label: Candlelight Records
Length: 1 hour 9 minutes
Recommended to: Fans of Erra, Elitist, Beltane, Haunted Shores, Cloudkicker, Volumes, Structures
Mammal’s rating: 5 out of 5
The first two albums by Xerath, titled simply I and II, were sheer brilliance. Matching either of those releases, never mind topping them, would require a Herculean effort. Well, Xerath flexed their mighty thews and ensured that III is every bit as good as their previous work. In some respects I suppose it may be better. I’m not going to say it is, though. That would be like a believer saying God is better than God.
It’s quite a challenge to slot Xerath into any genre. Their musical approach is as wide as the sky and as deep as the place where angler fish have to carry headlamps.
Be glad you don’t live on the Planet of the Dolphins or in any other sub-aquatic civilisation. You can’t do chemisty, make fire or smelt metals under water. It would probably be even more difficult in salt water. I should imagine it would also be quite a bugger trying not electrocute yourself with a big amp.
On Water Planet there is no music except for The Whale Glee Club and the Coral Crackers.
You’ll usually find Al Qaynah’s land of origin listed as Afghanistan. That may be partly so, but Al Qaynah isn’t a band as such. It’s an international, cross-cultural, cross-ethnic and trans-religious project. It doesn’t have a fixed line-up. The contributing musicians send their tracks to be mastered together in Copenhagen.
In a few places you may also read that Al Qaynah plays “terrorist metal”, which is patently ridiculous and exactly the opposite of what Al Qaynah really is. It does aim to project a political message. The essence of that message is that all humans should strive towards understanding and agreement and seek to set aside prejudice and conflict.
Learn more about the project on Al Qaynah’s Facebook page. If you’re a musician and want to contribute some of your work to the project, you’ll read there how to do it.
Right, let’s listen to some peace rally music, 21st century style.