Posted by ChristopherMammal
Crunch time approaches. We’re into to the Top 10 in my metal hit parade and the runners-up in my other categories. I’d love to have all of the albums in today’s selection. Oh, wait, I do!
Some of us are born with big floppy ears, some are born lucky, and I’m a guy with big floppy ears who got lucky too.
Without music the world would be a much poorer place. Without metal and prog and all my other loves, the world might as well not exist. My ears and my brain would have nothing to do.
Posted in Best of 2015
Tags: Atlantis, EAS, Eidos, Experimental/jazz metal, folk darkwave, Ghost, Grievances, John Zorn, Kingcrow, Mammal's Best of 2015, Meliora, Mord'A'Stigmata, Our Hearts Slow Down, Plugs of Apocalypse, Poire, Progressive Rock, Psychedelic progressive rock, Rolo Tomassi, Simulacrum, Symphonic Deathcore, Symphony X, Underworld
Well, here we are again, another end of year list. First, big thanks to you for reading and engaging with us. I have to say, this year’s list is more well-rounded than previous year-end lists. I guess it is because I continue to get exposed to new bands and others that have been out a while, but are new to me. Take my #1 for example. I knew they were out there, but took it took me a while to sit down and have a serious listen. I am glad I did. One major difference between this year and my other lists is the (almost) absence of thrash metal bands. While there are a few, not as much as I would normally have on my list. Seems as though my taste in progressive based metal is expanding. I guess it’s time to see for yourself. Enjoy, and let’s have another great year in metal. Read the rest of this entry →
Posted in Best of 2015
Tags: A Metal State of Mind Best of 2015, Baroness, Best of 2015, Bloom, Caligula's Horse, Cattle Decapitation, Condition Human, Crooked Doors, Dormant Heart, Ensiferum, Finsterforst, Ghost, Intronaut, iron maiden, Leprous, Mach Didh Frei, Meliora, One Man Army, Purple, Queensryche, Royals Thunder, Soilwork, Sylosis, Symphony X, The Antropocene Extinction, The Book of Souls, The Congregation, The Direction of Last THings, The Ride Majestic, The Ruined World, Trials, Underworld
Label: Lorna Vista Records (USA), Spinefarm/Rise Above (Europe)
Release Date: Aug. 21st, 2015
Genre: Doom Metal/Psychedelic Rock/Pop
Studio Albums: Opus Eponymous, Infestissumam
Location: Linköping, Sweden
Posted by ChristopherMammal
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
I love the power of a good instrumental song. Sometimes they can be energizing or even relaxing depending on the band’s intent with the song. Some bands use an instrumental song to display a different, sometimes softer side. And, sometimes an instrumental is a collection of left over riffs and drum parts that didn’t make the final cut. Or, perhaps they just couldn’t find the words to go with the music. However they are composed, the instrumental song is a track I look for and hope to find on any album; though there are some bands where it’s almost an expectation. This list is 25 word-less songs that I find essential to my music library. I wouldn’t sweat over the exact order, but yeah the ones at or near the top of this list are definitely my favorites. I know there are many more instrumental songs out there, but these are mine…so to speak. This list is also limited to only three per band and only one band made this list three times. Enjoy!
12. Implements of Destruction – Chimaira
For the first minute and 20 seconds, the song starts off sounding like it is going to remain a bit flowery, then it takes on a much more sinister tone incorporating speed and thrash with lengthy, frequent guitar solos. In essence, you get a little taste of the many different tempos and styles Chimaira puts into their songs rolled up into one prolonged instrumental song. This clip comes from their very well produced DVD Coming Alive.
11. Genesis – Ghost
For many reasons, I really enjoy Ghost’s music to include their stage presence. Genesis off of the Opus Eponymous album I thought was interesting because it sounds like it could be the song during the closing credits of a movie like Salem’s Lot or Phantasm. It has a consistent rhythm and also sounds like it could have been recorded during the era of both of the movies I mentioned…a bit of retro appeal.
2013 was an odd year for me. While there were countless amounts of outstanding releases, I found myself extremely burned out with heavy metal overload. That’s not to say I even for a moment slowed down on my heavy metal listening in the slightest, but found myself with lots of difficulty getting into something new unless it was something extra special. Something beyond just a solid death metal/black metal/post metal/doom metal/etc metal album. It had to be absolutely extraordinary to pull me away from my current need of delving back into the thousands of albums already in my collection.
However, within my current disregard throughout the year for actively seeking out the new or checking out new albums from established artists I’m already a fan of I still did find a good amount of time to embrace the new. There were many great releases this year and I gave a listen a lot of them. On the contrary, many albums you would think would objectively be on my list you may not find here (honorable mention post coming in the very near future), as naturally, a top ten list is very subjective and the following albums are the records that really shone through despite my bout of new music burnout and got lot of playtime in between obsessive bouts of the classics. In fact, every record here I would consider a modern classic and recommend taking some time to check it out. So, without further ado, here’s my favorite releases of 2013.
Initially, I was going to limit my best of 2013 list to just my top 10. My reasoning was to make my list as tight as I could only highlighting the very best of what moved me during the year. After looking back at how many albums I listened to or was exposed to, that number hovered around 270 albums. So, I decided to expand my list to the same standard as previous years. Despite increasing my list to 15, it still only highlights about 5% of all the albums that graced my ear drums this year. So, what I present to you for the year 2013 my top 15, plus five more honorable mentions that will be posted in the vicinity of this list.
Tags: Alternative, amon amarth, Biffy Clyro, carcass, Clutch, Death Angel, Death Metal, Deceiver of the Gods, Earth Rocker, Exhumed, Ghost, Havok, Helloween, Intestissumam, Jungle Rot, metal, Necrocrasy, Opposites, Pelagial, Queensryche, Revocation, Rock, Self Titled, Sleepers Awake, Soilwork, Straight out of Hell, Surgical Steel, Terror Regime, The Dream Calls for Blood, the living infinite, The Ocean, Thrash, Top 15 of 2013, Transcension, Unnatural Selection
My level of excitement concerning all things Ghost elevated when I heard they were releasing an EP of covers. That’s all I needed to know to make the day-of-release purchase. Though I am overall pretty happy with the output, if there is one thing wrong about the If You Have Ghost EP; it’s unfortunately short. Yes, it meets the criteria of an EP, but to me that just means “a few songs” to feast on. The problem is that two of the five songs are ones we heard already. First, as much as I enjoyed Infestissumam, I thought Secular Haze was one of, if not, the weakest songs on the album. So, throwing a live version of it on an EP was nothing but filler even though it was a decent recording. Then, to add salt to the wound they including I Am A Marionette…another one already included on the Infestissumam deluxe edition.
Talking to other metal admirers has certainly opened my ears to a world of music I barely knew existed. I have to say, my library has expanded quite a bit over the years though meeting friends in blogs and social forums. A recent conversation on a facebook forum called “I, Author of Despair” led me to do some soul searching on songs that define my taste in music, more specifically heavy metal. When asked, I usually tell people I just like the aggressive nature of the music, but after thinking about it for a bit I realized there are so many other reasons that define my particular taste…reasons that opened the door to my favorite genres and opened further doors to new ones. Those 10 reasons in no particular order are Speed, Cadence, and Flow; Rhythm and Groove; Guitars; Presentation and Appearance; Disposition; Artistic Impression; Technicality; Poignant Intelligible Lyrics; Storytelling; and Aggression. Although some of the bands used to articulate the things that define my taste can cross over into multiple areas, I use them as good examples of why it defines my taste in music.
#8 – Guitars
The quickest way to my heavy metal heart is through guitars. I love a good riff and love even more a solid guitar solo. If I hear an intro to a song that has a good riff and later follows up with a quality solo, I will usually be hooked. Yeah, I am that easy. The rest of the song still has to be good, but my ears gravitate toward guitars, riffs, and solos and if there are two guitarists in a band that do tandem and trade-off solos it’s even better. Megadeth’s Holy Wars…The Punishment Due is one of my favorite songs, but also defines this category for me and probably established my love for good guitar work. It has everything from a cool intro that still gives me chills when I hear it to multiple solos that are technical and best of all lengthy without being boring. I love that Chris Broderick is in Megadeth now, but there is no denying the harmonies created by the duo of Mustaine and Friedman back in the day.
Other bands that fit: Dream Theater, Carcass, Testament, Pantera, and Opeth
#7 – Presentation and Appearance
It’s not the most important thing in the world to look cool on stage, but if a band pulls off a “look” it can certainly add to the experience. Kiss did it well and so did Slipknot, Alice Cooper, and Marilyn Manson. Currently, Ghost is tearing up stages all over the world and their presence on stage is so simple, yet so powerful and a perfect fit for their songwriting. You have to see Ghost to understand what I am talking about. Other bands try to pull off a certain look and fail on an epic level. Look at Black veil Brides for example. I don’t know what they are doing, but they look stupid and have a stupid band name as well. Another thing that goes along with appearance is presentation. A band can have the look, but how they present themselves on stage is vitally important. Ghost, for example, has perfected presentation. They have done everything right; they have the package deal. On the other hand, Metallica’s jeans and t-shirts approach always worked fine for me and that’s the perfect presentation for them and other bands like them.
Other bands that fit: Cradle of Filth, Gwar, Misfits, Fleshgod Apocalypse
Concert Review: Sonisphere Milan (Rho Fiera) June 8th, 2013 (Iron Maiden, Megadeth, Mastodon, Ghost)
Between countless bits of memorabilia, various t-shirts, an extensive Iron Maiden discography, and a tattoo of Eddie the Head taking up half of my back it’s quite obvious that I am quite the die-hard Iron Maiden fan. So the second I heard that Bruce, Steve, Adrian, Nicko, Dave, Janick, and Eddie were going to be making a stop in Milan to headline the Sonisphere festival it was an immediate ticket purchase, especially after a 6 year dry spell where I haven’t seen my all time favorite band live. At first the only band that was announced was Iron Maiden, and even if Justin Beeber and The Spice Girls were also playing I would have dropped the €60 regardless, I was still curious to which other bands would be on the bill. Lucky for me the ridiculously Satanic doomsters Ghost were announced as well as a band that truly lives up to their name, Mastodon. Also on the bill was Megadeth and a couple of other bands whose names escape me and were on the stage too early for me to see. With such a damn fine line-up and my expectation blasting through the roof did the show live up? Long story short, Hell Fuck Yeah!!!