Posted by RiffRaff
It’s that time of year again for arbitrary lists of really great albums that were released since the last time I did one of these things. Contributing to my absolute burnout of writing about kick ass metal bands, I can not think of another year where there were just so damn many stellar records released. I simply had to say fuck it, step back, and enjoy the great stuff I already had. Sure, I missed out on some great stuff, but on the other hand, all killer no filler. To try to make up for the insane amount of great albums this year I’ve expanded my usual 10 to 15 and will have an honorable mentions post sometime in the near future. I hope you find yourself something cool to listen to with this list or at least nod in agreement with some of my picks. Thanks for reading, sticking with AMSOM, and being awesome and stuff. Enjoy!!! Peace Love and Metal!!!
Posted by Irmelinis
Release Date: September 30th, 2014 on eOne Entertainment
Length: 53 minutes
Genre: Pushing limits in Progressive death metal
Location: Pennsylvania, US
Previous releases: Song of The Crippled Bull EP 2013
Recommended for fans of: Early Opeth, The Contortionist, Fallujah, Fleshgod Apocalypse
“…And we stand still, nothing worth changing, no cause to seek within our minds. There will never be another dawn here, a time where I’d feel, a time for taking and the path to freedom passed us by. Watch the waves and wither away here.”
When we Metal State reviewers gave the round table treatment to Opeth’s “Pale Communion” earlier this year I was less than flattering about the album. I said it wasn’t hard enough to be good metal or inventive enough to be good prog.
It isn’t metal. It is, however, damn fine heavy prog rock. That is what Opeth intended it to be, I believe, and that’s what it became.
Opeth and their industry associates haven’t said anything about the review. Nor have my fellow reviewers or any Opeth fans. It’s my conscience that’s been smacking me on both earholes.
I did update my comments and rating of the album in our published review, but such things tend to go unnoticed. If we’re wrong — not necessarily when we’re told we’re wrong but when we know it deep inside ourselves — we should retract and correct. It gives me the greatest of pleasure to concede how very wrong I was about “Pale Communion”. The more I listen to it, the more I know it’s one of the best prog albums of the year.
Posted by Irmelinis
Release Date: November 4th 2014 on Spinefarm Records
Length: 53 minutes
Genre: Atmospheric progressive metal
Previous releases: Cognitive 2012
Recommended for fans of: Opeth, Leprous, Rishloo, Riverside, Karnivool
Yet again today I encountered some of the weird prejudices that prevail in the world of popular music, as in FM radio and the current Top 20 Best-Marketed Hits of the Week.
The young fellow I spoke to in a store was surprised that someone of my age, which is 64, would listen to modern music at all [Prejudice 1]. He was even more surprised that I would listen to something as weird as metal [Prejudice 2]. When I mentioned that I would be posting some of my favourite music from Sweden, Belgium and New Zealand, he exclaimed: “Oh, well, I wouldn’t listen to it anyway. I don’t listen to anything unless it’s from England or America because I can’t understand the words [Prejudice 3].”
I could add [Ignorance 1] but maybe they don’t speak English in New Zealand. Isn’t it a region in Mongolia?
Dark Metal Cat has issued an advisory that this series has come under the scrutiny of the NSA because today’s episode includes no American bands. American metalheads may laugh at this allegation. Yeah? How did the NSA know what I was going to select before I did?
So today we have Amon Amarth, Sieges Even, Opeth and To-Mera. Dark Metal Cat has issued an advisory that the NSA has listed all of those band names as code words for secret meeting places where “strange people” in the USA listen to European bands.
Maybe I should rearrange my sets of annual hit parades and do three American bands in a row. Then we’ll each get an apple pie. Dark Metal Cat wants his with huge dollops of cream.
It may seem ironic that Chimaira wins one of the top three spots in my year-by-year hit parade a week after they finally split up, supposedly for ever. They made a live come-back that reportedly drew ridiculously small audiences.
Whatever the reasons for their calling it a day, I wish all of them well. They gave me some good listening, which is ultimately all that anyone can ask of a band.
Posted by RiffRaff
I was considering making these 2 songs the Video of the Week because the neat-o nature visualizers are damn hypnotizing, fit their respective songs perfectly, and would be perfectly acceptable as official videos in my book. However, RoadRunner decided to label them as official audio, so I would expect that something a bit more big budget is in the pipeline.
Anyhoo, in case you missed our Roundtable Review of Opeth’s latest, Pale Communion, some of us liked it, some of us not so much, and I flipped head over heel in love it claiming it belongs with the upper echelon of the prime Opeth releases. Every song on it is pure gold in my opinion and even cooler, my 2 favorite tracks from the record got this cool official audio nature visualizer treatment.
Eternal Rains Shall Come shows some stylized footage, of, well, rain and thunderstorms. Really cool, especially if you are the type of person that find comfort in just staring out into a rainstorm. The song is really damn cool as well. I love how it floats from upbeat, chipper moods to relaxing and slightly melancholy to punchy and powerful. Damn fine song and an instant classic in my book.
Moon Above, Sun Below showcases my favorite season as Autumnal clips hypnotize as Opeth takes you on a trip to the Harlequin Forest to see how much it has changed over the years. While the last time we visited the forest of regrets and our protagonist’s tortured mind was being chased on a Wintery and stormy night, we now see the forest in a different season and illuminated by the sun. It still has maintained a bit of menace, but without the cover of dark, refrains from baring its teeth opting to lull its prey into becoming lost within the flurry of trunks and branches until the dawn of night approaches.
Am I crazy in thinking that Moon Above, Sun Below is the spiritual successor to Harlequin Forest? (I embedded the song so you can listen and reaffirm my over-analyzing.) Have you listened to the new Opeth? What do you think? Love it, hate it, meh? Enjoy!! Peace Love and Metal!!!
This selection completes ten years of my personal hit parades. Looking at the medals table to date (i.e. 2002), Sweden has had five of my favourite songs of the year; the USA, three; and the Netherlands and the UK, one each.
From this it is manifestly clear that my best musical place in the world is right here in my office, where I can listen to the best of every country.
At the end of the 21 years, I must work out a points system to name my top music country, my top band and my top metal genre over two decades.