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
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 →
Missed Reviews: Killswitch Engage; Bullet For My Valentine; Ghost Brigade; Toxic Holocaust; Skeletonwitch; Cradle of Filth
If I had it my way I would by every album I want with the money that grows on this tree outside. But, since the world doesn’t work like that some potential album purchases get pushed to the wayside until a time arises when the wallet fairy says it’s time to buy. In some cases, like with Ghost Brigade, I never knew they existed. So, thanks to people like you, readers, fellow bloggers, and my Metal State cohorts, I get introduced to all kinds of bands, hence Ghost Brigade. This segment is something I never did before, but I thought it would be cool to catch up on a few things I never got around to or freshly introduced to. If you are like me, I hope you find something you like. Enjoy!
Killswitch Engage – Disarm The Descent (2013)
Killswitch Engage is a band that was never really on my radar, but I could count on them for some pretty cool songs off each album; not to mention one cover I am really fond of. In fact, by the time I heard of the band I didn’t even realize they were on a second vocalist in Howard Jones. So, when I heard Jesse Leach was returning to the band I barely noticed there was ever much of a difference from the old to the most recent of their albums at the time. When news of the latest album broke, I figured I would get around to it…well, that time is now.
I have to say my generalized opinion has changed a bit from my previous position. I rather enjoy the new work. I still only hear barely a difference in vocal style from Jones back to Leach, but music I find more attractive than past endeavors from Killswitch camp. I felt most of their songs were a bit choppy whereas the Disarm the Descent has a smoother cadence and flow. Overall, a little bummed I didn’t grab it upon release, but I am happy to have it now and have given it several pleasurable spins.
Tags: Bullet for my Valentine, Chemistry of Consciousness, Cradle of Filth, Disarm the Descent, Ghost Brigade, killswitch engage, metal, Serpents Unleashed, Skeletonwitch, Temper Temper, The Manticore and Other Horrors, Thrash, Toxic Holocaust, Until Fear No Longer Defines Us
Posted by Irmelinis
A while ago, at the same time as Matt and Reggie, I posted my Top 100 All Time Favourite (Metal) Albums over at the forum The History of Metal on FB. It took a good amount of time and effort to put it together, but it was so much fun! My taste in metal is always changing, so the list will not always look the same. In fact, it’s already a bit different than it was when I first put it together and posted it on the forum seven months ago.
I tried to limit myself to three albums per band to make the list a little more diverse and interesting. I don’t really consider the ‘test of time’-factor when selecting what albums that will go on my list, instead I measure it by how strongly the album has affected me emotionally and how much/often it has helped me through both good and bad phases in my life. That’s why you can find quite a few newer releases among my favourites too.
#65 Bathory – Hammerheart
”Northern wind, take my song up high
to the Hall of Glory in the sky
So its gates shall greet me open wide
when my time has come to die…”
Tags: atmospheric black metal, Bathory, Black Metal, Dissection, Doom, Epic Metal, Ghost Brigade, Heavy Metal, melodic black metal, metal, Music, Music Videos, Porcupine Tree, Prog Metal, Prog Rock, Progressive Metal, sludge, Summoning, Top 100 Albums, top 100 metal albums
Until Fear No Longer Defines Us is an album I’ve been meaning to write about for a while, but my ‘ADD’ always seemed to hinder it’s progress. It’s really a great album. Since I’m not familiar with any of Ghost Brigade’s previous work I can’t call any comparisons from this to any of their earlier albums (something that is now being rectified). Anywho, I really enjoy this record a lot. Between the somber acoustic songs, to groove metal, to the crushing post-metal anthems there is a lot of varied music to absorb throughout this L.P. Beyond the great music, Until Fear… boasts some excellent lyric writing with some profoundly deep and interesting words that match wonderfully with the music that they are accompanying. If you’re a fan of bands like Alice in Chains, Isis, Paradise Lost, and Neurosis definitely give this record a listen, I’m sure you will love it. Enjoy! Peace Love and Metal!!!
Also check out the amazing video for the song “Clawmaster”. One of my all time favorite music videos.
If heavy metal had a Mecca right now I would say it is Finland. The cold country seems to be the breeding ground of a myriad of high quality metal bands spanning through many genres. I don’t know what the Finns are drinking (maybe some of that ceremonial thunder brew that was the inspiration for Korpiklaani‘s latest album Ukon Wacka), but if there is one thing that they can do, it’s write some of the best metal that the world has to offer. According to many statistics, Finland has the most metal bands per person with for every 4 people there’s 1 metal band. That’s a lot of metal.
This updated repost of a Music Video Mania I did last year will be the first part of a 2 part series. Next week I will take a look and give my opinion as to why Finland has so much great metal going on in the country. If any Finnish readers (or any readers) would like to give their opinion why Finland is so rich with metal, I’d really love to hear it!!! Enjoy the videos!!! Peace Love and Metal!!!
Man, what can I say? 2011 has been a hell of a year. First things first, since this will be my final post of 2011, I just want to thank all our readers old and new for tuning in to Metal State. The site has grown so much over the past year and I’m honored to have all you readers and commenters here for the ride!! And a thank you to my blogger in crime Reggie(Plantera7) for being a completely awesome blogging partner and brother in metal!!!! And to everyone I say Happy Holidays and have a great start to your New Year, may it be great 2012 overflowing with copious amounts of Peace, chock full of Love, and tons upon tons of glorious Metal!!!
So onwards, like every other media website, Metal State will also be doing “Best of 2011” lists, I’m sure you’ve already seen/read a few of our other various “Best of” posts, and naturally we are waiting till the end to unleash the big daddy, the “Top 15 Albums of 2011”, which you will be able to read as soon as we return from our 2 week holiday break which will start today(we will still be around here and there to respond to comments, report any “huge” news, etc, but the regular posting will be on hiatus while we enjoy our holidays). On Jan. 4, 2012 we will be posting our “Top 15 Best Albums of 2011”. While making mine I had a bit of difficulty getting all the albums I really enjoyed honestly on the list, so I decided to make a mention of a handful of some great albums that ultimately didn’t make my personal Top 15. Some factors I used when doing my list were how often I returned to the album, my initial reaction to it or how well it grew on me, and most importantly, how much I personally and unbiasedly enjoyed it.
The great thing about reading all of the year-end lists for me is being able to see some of my favorites get mentioned, and if there is someone who mentions a good amount of albums I like, chances are there are some great releases on their list that might be right up my alley. Anyways, here are some of my honorable mentions in no particular order. Enjoy!!! Peace Love and Metal!!!
Since their major breakthrough in the 80’s I have always been a fan of the music video as I sat in front of the T.V. watching the MTV. Unfortunately, nowadays one can not find many music videos on the television anymore, let alone metal videos. But, with this great thing called the internet the music video is as strong as ever with sites such as Youtube allowing fans to watch what video they want, when they want, and how many times they want. Here are my Top 5 favorite music videos from 2011. Enjoy!! Peace Love and Metal!!!!
5: Alestorm- “Shipwrecked”
Alestorm never fail to tickle my funny bone. Pirates, keytars, midgets, and rum are a cocktail for some great laughs. Combine all that with their killer and super catchy song “Shipwrecked” you got yourself a winning music video.
I came across these two bands some days ago browsing a blog that I frequent(D.C. Metal Review). Ghost Brigade I have heard of in the past but for some reason never got around to giving them a listen, kinda kicking myself for that now. They are spectacular. On one end they have a side that reminds me of Isis and another that feels reminiscent of Alice in Chains more melancholic side(songs like “Brother” and “Down in a Hole”). They have a new album out called Until Fear No Longer Defines Us and after my first preview listen, I have to say, it’s a damn solid release with a great blend of heaviness, atmosphere, melancholy, and beauty. They also have a video for the song “Clawmaster” which is off the new release and it’s one hell of a cool video, check it out, and do yourself a favor, bump it up to 720p, it’s worth it.