This year I had the pleasure of reviewing over 150 albums; some on my own, but most with my Metal State partners on our RoundTable review forum. Despite being a great year in metal I only awarded five albums a best 5 out of 5 rating; four of them made my Top 15. Those four bands are Revocation, Behemoth, Arch Enemy, Ghost Brigade, and Insomnium. Arch Enemy did not make my list. I guess you could say it’s one of those reviews I wish I could go back and change…same thing I said about Khaos Legions. Arch Enemy has that kind of effect on me; come on strong and then fizzle a little bit. I still like the album a lot and think it’s better than their last two albums. All things considered in metal they didn’t make my Top 15 this year.
My average score for 2014 was a 3.7; perhaps a little on the high side on a 5-point scale, but it is worth mentioning that I gave up reviewing albums I seriously do not like. For me it became a waste of time and energy talking about something I truly found dissatisfying. My lowest rating, a 1.5, went to four bands; Ceremonial, Dodsferd, Heresiarch, and Shroud of the Heretic. Sorry guys, your music is probably appreciated in some metal circles just not mine.
Over the last two years, a progressive metal/rock band topped my end-of-year list. Sleepers Awake last year and Rush the year before that. Machine Head made my #1 back in 2011 and are on my list this year, but not at #1. Another thing worth noting is that seven bands on my list this year I heard for the first time ever. They will have a * symbol next to their band name and album. Another band that made my list this year was part of an article I wrote some years back called “Bands I Should Like, But Do Not.” Click here to see the article and the band I have since grown a fondness for. Lastly, four bands on my list this year are repeat offenders since I started doing lists in 2011. You already know about Machine Head. Who are the other three? One of them is my #1 album.
2014 was a great year in metal in my humble opinion. There seemed to be way too many releases to keep up with even for the four of us. Based on what we experienced this year I think you will see a lesser amount of reviews on Metal State in 2015 (at least from me) and hopefully more original content and discussion pieces. Enough chatter; here is my best in metal for 2015. Enjoy!
15. Scar Symmetry – The Singularity (Phase I – Neohumanity)* (favorite song; Neohuman)
Reading up on the history of the band a little, I can see why long-time fans are at odds with the latest release from Scar Symmetry. I, however, am a first time listener and coming in from the outside, I find this odd mix of extreme styles interesting. I mean, it’s like Def Leppard meets death metal. It’s quirky and melodic and at other times so damn heavy. Other times it’s a little of both. I am cool with concept ideas for an album or a plan that is going to span multiple albums, but that has nothing to do with why the album is on my list. It’s different, than most things you hear out there. And, for that fresh appeal to my senses it makes my list. Read the rest of this entry →
Posted in Best of 2014
Tags: Animals As Leaders, Behemoth, Best Metal of 2014, Black Crown Initiate, Blood & Banjos, Bloodbath, Bloodstone & Diamonds, Centinex, Deathless, Fallujah, Ghost Brigade, Grand Morbid Funeral, Insomnium, IV One With the Storm, Machine Head, Mastodon, Once More 'Round The Sun, Revocation, scar symmetry, SepticFlesh, Shadows of the Dying Sun, The Flesh Prevails, The Satanist, The Wreckage of Stars, Titan
Release Date: 18 Nov 2014 (US)
Length: 47 Minutes
Previous Albums: Resurrection Through Carnage (2002); Nightmares Made Flesh (2004); The Fathomless Mastery (2008)
From: Sweden / England
FFO: Quality death metal Read the rest of this entry →
Continuing on with our Top 100 list at The History of Metal, I bring you my next five with a little bit of justification. If you haven’t checked out The History of Metal or THOM as we call it, please do it’s a cool forum to talk about and share metal. The page creator does a great job as keeping topics fresh and he also takes the time to pose challenges to the group; Top 100 Albums being one of them. I think the best part of this whole challenge besides getting to see everyone else’s choices is to reminisce about why I love these albums so much. It gets me listening to some of these I haven’t heard in a while. Not to mention, seeing everyone elses favorites gets me to explore some things I haven’t heard yet. Enjoy!
Posted by RiffRaff
Zombies. Love ’em or hate ’em, they’re a force in pop culture that isn’t going away anytime soon. From video games, to movies, to literature the living dead clawed, chewed, and gnashed their way into our hearts. Why do we love these bumbling husks of humanity so much? Probably because it gives us a chance to take our frustrations out on all the other ‘morons’ that get in our way on a daily basis. Walking down a crowded street, haven’t you wished at least once you could drive a bulldozer over all the people in your way but tucked that thought in the back of your mind due to the legal consequences that come with it. If everyone was a zombie I bet you wouldn’t even think twice before doing it.
Much like mowing down hordes of the undead in games and movies is a stress relief, so is music, and zombies have certainly found their way into that too, especially heavy metal. Here’s a bunch of songs and music videos in many different styles of metal that pay tribute to societies favorite monster, the zombie. What are some of your favorite metal songs and videos about zombies? Enjoy!! Peace Love and Braaaaaiiiinnnnssssss!!!!
If you don’t pay attention, some of the artists you know and/or respect might pull a fast one. Their side-project they didn’t tell anyone about might go unnoticed. How dare they? This week I’ll profile five that I picked up on over the years and two just recently. I think we all know about the big ones like Dream Theater spin-offs (Liquid Tension Experiment) etc, but hopefully these might be new to you or something long forgotten. The bottom line is that members of these bands have full-time gigs, so there is only so much time to dedicate to the other bands they play in/with. If you have never heard of these bands, I guess it’s time you did. Here goes.
What do you get when you take metal masters from Opeth and Katatonia and put them into one band? Bloodbath! This band puts together the best of both European and American (Tampa, Fl) death metal. They have done things right as far as I am concerned and are one of the only death metal bands I can listen to…the whole album straight through.
Mock the Cross by Bloodbath is a killer song with some killer riffs. Mikael’s voice is so dark and heavy throughout the album. Bloodbath doesn’t get together for too many gigs, but they were at the UK’s Bloodstock in 2010. That festival is pretty much an entire festival of death. I would have liked to attend and I might have to at least once before I leave this island.
My favorite song of this album is Devouring the Feeble, but Mock the Cross is a very close second. What a great way to start the day. According to the band’s MySpace page, a DVD of the Bloodstock performance will be released on April 25th. I think I might have to pick that one up. I bet it’s a memorable performance.
Here are the lyrics to the song (courtesy of darklyrics.com)
In the womb
A sea of vomit
Nurturing the false prophet
His mouth of blasphemy
Spreading forth the creed of the infidels
His spit on the flaking emblem of Solomon
A schism of confusion weaken the trinity
Foresee the death of the holy alliance
The withering corpse of Christ
Mock the cross
Mock the cross
Thieving throughout the ages of man
He has come to claim eternal prize
Antichrist of flesh and blood
Overseeing his domain with tender care
The foul taste of deceit
Lingering upon his lips
Fools entranced by divine intellect
Enslaved and scorned for eternity
The long awaited rise of the usurper
A new world order taking form
Hordes rejoiced in eternal solstice
Honoring the true kingdom
Possession of the gullible souls
Mass death in the name of dog
Mock the cross
Mock the cross
Mock the fucking cross
And here is a YouTube link for one of Bloodbath’s videos
Another great month in metal has gone by. Many bands had great releases and March shows no signs of really slowing down. At the end of March we will see releases from both Cavalera Conspiracy and Amon Amarth. I am sure there will be others, but for now those two are big ones in my metal world.
What did your iTouch say about you in February? They say technology never lies so let’s see what I have been listening to recently. My iTouch got a good workout this month. I started this little experiment with 576 songs and 46 bands. At the end of the month, I had 619 songs and 50 artists. Thank you to new DevilDriver, Black Label Society (new to me), Ensiferum (new to me), and new Evergrey for joining the regular rotation. Here is my Top 10 for the last half of February. From now on, I will just do this once a month.
10. Megadeth – This Day We Fight – 10 plays
This is a great song and I am not surprised to find it on the list. I listen to this one usually with every cardio workout I do.
9. Black Label Society – Stillborn – 11 plays
After seeing BLS in concert they have made their way into my regular rotation and this is one of the songs I like most off Skullage.
8. Kamelot – Hunter’s Season – 13 plays
Kamelot is a great band and after possibly getting to see them in April with Evergrey, they have re-entered a regular rotation. Hunter’s Season was a Song of the Day last week. Since then I have listened to it intentionally numerous times.
7. Ensiferum – Stone Cold Metal – 13 plays
I just had to hear that banjo solo. Only a band like Ensiferum could pull that off.
6. Suicidal Tendencies – I Saw Your Mommy – 14 plays
Another good workout tune here. This song is like a satire of all those people who say metal is “kill you momma, kill your baby.” You know the type, I am sure. I think this song pokes fun at the people who associate metal with death and dismemberment. Although in some cases “those” people may be right. This is a fun song as far as I am concerned.
5. Paradise Lost – At Horizon’s End – 14 plays
If you are a Paradise Lost fan, then you probably noticed their latest album is much heavier than several previous releases. I think they have gotten back to their roots a little bit here. Faith Divides Us (Death Unites Us) is a very worthy Paradise Lost album especially if you were a fan of the Draconian Times era.
4. Cradle of Filth – Beast of Extermination (bonus track) – 14 plays
3. Queensryche – Lat Time in Paris – 15 plays
2. Black Label Society – Bleed For Me – 15 plays
1. Bloodbath – Devouring The Feeble – 16 plays
Another great cardio tune. This is perhaps one of my top 3 all-time favorite death metal songs. I can only take death metal in small doses. Bloodbath is a solid death metal band probably because they are made up of mostly Opeth and Katatonia members. So the musicianship is there; they are very talented. Bloodbath take the repetitious speed/death snare drum and actually throw some melody into death without compromising anything.
I was surprised to see DevilDriver didn’t make the top 10, but they were close at around 8 plays for each song on Beast. I am sure the end of March report will have multiple DD songs on it.
My favorite song on this top 10 right now is This Day We Fight from Megadeth. Apart from being a little biased toward my favorite band, this song is classic Megadeth.
So what have you been listening to lately?
Opeth’s 2001 release is arguably one of their best. Their career is long, illustrious, and somewhat eclectic so narrowing down their best work is up to the ear of the listener. Blackwater Park has all the elements of prog, metal, death, and thrash wrapped up into a solid 1.1 hours of epic music. It’s difficult to nail down which songs are the best, but the following are probably a good start to Blackwater Park if you never heard Opeth before.
The Leper Affinity
The Drapery Falls
Dirge for November
That is a good start considering that is half the album right there. Eight tracks make up this album with three of them clocking in at over 10:00. Opeth is one of those bands where they are not too heavy on one particular instrument. Akerfeldt’s vocal range is impressive to say the least; from pleasant to darkly death. Blackwater Park and the rest of Opeth’s library has it all. These Swedes know how to put it together. If you are looking for live action of these guys, they just released Live at the Royal Albert Hall in London. This should be a treat for any veteran or new Opeth fan. Enjoy, I do!
When it comes to death metal or black metal, i can only take it in small purposeful doses. When the song of the day kicked off my morning, it was from one of those such death metal bands, one of the few that I really enjoy listening to. Today’s song of the day started my day off just right because I was soooo friggin tired…my fault for staying up late. Todays SOTD is:
“Drink from the cup of Heresy” from Bloodbath off the album The Fathomless Mastery.
If you are a full-time death metal fan, you probably have this album or definitely should pick it up. If you are a casual death metal fan like me, then this should be added to your library. My favorite track off this album is Devouring the Feeble, which made my ultimate workout compilation. There is no better dose of angst to start off your day than with Bloodbath. Incidentally, the singer of Bloodbath is also the singer of Opeth…two very different bands.
Even metalheads need to stay in shape for a night in the pit. I have devised a brutal playlist that is an assault on the senses. It will surely keep you motivated for 30 minutes of intense cardio. This playlist took some deep thought, then it was put to the test today for my 30-minute 3.47 mile run on the comfort of a gym treadmill. Let me tell you that each song kept my blood pumping as well as a desire to thrown something. I looked forward to each song and never felt the need to forward through any of this playlist. This list should be assembled in order for best results. Disclaimer – this playlist is rated “R” for mature headbangers only. Here goes:
1. DevilDriver – Nothing’s Wrong – DevilDriver
This one is raw power and is great to get the workout started. It never lets up and if it makes you want to throw a chair, channel that energy into getting your workout on.
2. Chimaira – Power Trip – The Impossibility of Reason
Another song of great aggression and angst! It’s short and to the point.
3. Slipknot – Disasterpiece – Iowa
The longest song of the set and a bit toned down from the first two. You should be getting into the groove by now.
4. Slayer – Hate Worldwide – World Painted Blood
Just when things let up a tiny bit, Slayer kicks in and kicks your butt. Step it up!
5. Cavalera Conspiracy – Terrorize – Inflikted
Another song of great speed and angst (we like that word).
6. Hatebreed – Defeatist – Supremacy
The third song in a row that should keep you motivated…you are halfway done!
7. Cannibal Corpse – Make them Suffer – Kill
A quick switch to death metal – this song does not let up, its quick, and should keep you moving.
8. Bloodbath – Devouring the Feeble – The Fathomless Mastery
Continuing with death metal – this is probably my favorite death metal song of all time. This song is just so damn heavy. This is the one that will take you to the limit…terminal velocity approaching!
9. Amon Amarth – Twilight of the Thunder God – Twilight of the Thunder God
Nothing like Swedish viking melodies to take you to the 30-minute mark. This is where your workout will come to a close. If you are too tired to finish the workout, just imagine Amon Amarth chasing you down in the woods late at night with sword and shield.
10. Pantera – Walk – Vulgar Display of Power
As cheesy as it is, this song is intended for the cool down and should take you to the 35-minute mark overall…yes walk, as the name implies. Just a bad ass groovy metal tune.
I hope you enjoy your workout with this playlist. It made my workout go by pretty quick which is the way I like it. If you think this is too heavy, let me know. I am an equal opportunity metalhead. I can easily do a toned down playlist for let’s say…a bike ride or something.