Hello everyone. This is our year’s end top list, and at the same time, since we did not have time to review all those excellent albums, we will do a short review of them here. Those are all 100% CTEBCM-approved albums, and you shall buy them as a gift. For yourself.
Oh, and by the way, they are put in alphabetical order, so they are all kinda #1.
Between the Buried and Me – The Parallax II : Future Sequence
How could we overlook this brilliant masterpiece that is Future Sequence. Everyone has talked about it, and unless you’ve been living in the People’s Republic of China this year, you’ve heard about it.
BTBAM gets better from album to album, and this is no exception. Banjo, harpsichord, trumpets, and lots of unconventional instrumentation is used throughout the album, which brings, interestingly, avant-garde elements into the album.
However, this is not enough so we call BTBAM an avant-garde metal band. Progressive death metal with avant-garde elements might fit better for what they do.
This album is the finale of the concept they’ve been dragging around in the few precedent albums, and it is part 2 of the Parallax series, which focuses more on the story than before.
Get this album, it is stellar!
Car Bomb – w^w^^w^w
Really? Man, this album fucking destroyed my balls! Apart from the seasick-inducing album art, the music will also give you nausea if you don’t pay attention to what’s going on and let your inner ear be subject to the changes of tempo and time signatures that make this album sway back and forth, like a ship in a storm in the middle of the Atlantic ocean.
The insane musicians at the wheel create themes, which they mercilessly torture, cut into pieces, and put the remains in display, for us to hear.
This album is sick, and it should be in your CD player or music library anytime.
By the way, it’s the first time I see an album name as a paradiddle.
Follow the White Rabbit – Endorphinia
Sadly, I haven’t seen enough people talking about this awesome-as-can-be album. Metal experimenters from Russia bring us a solid piece of art that is sure to make its way into the sinuous cracks of your brain… That meaning you’ll love it if you let is sink a bit.
“Few Stories of a Deserted Forest” might be my favourite part, just because it has so many different textures and experimentations in it.
Someone to note in the band is their singer, Dima, which is an absolute beast. He can sing like a fucking monster and still hit notes so high that I could never dream of reaching. Wow…
Give FTWR a chance, their album is for “name your price” on bandcamp. Truly a gem.
The Korea – Колесницы Богов (Chariots of the Gods)
Clearly from Russia, this djenty deathcore outfit brings us a very good album, all sung in Russian. It’s nothing too complicated, nor really new, but they do it well, and that’s why it’s here on our Christmas list.
It’s brutal, the riffs are great, and you headbang! What more can you ask?
You can buy the album on iTunes.
Murder Construct – Results
That is just so freaking abrasive! Short songs, pounding drums, fast riffs, insane singing.
This album will rape your ears. We’ve reviewed the album here on the blog, click here for the complete review, but all you need to know is that it is deathgrind, so it will grind you to death.
Ne Obliviscaris – Portal of I
Progressive black metal with elements of death metal, avant-garde, and many other genres and sub-genres. I did not know this band before this year, with that album, and it is really a must! Portal of I consists of only 7 songs, but most of them are above the 10 minute mark, and those that are not are quite long, too.
Metal bands with a full-time violinist are few, the only ones I can think of are The Ocean (I don’t know if they still have, though), Unexpect, and now Ne Obliviscaris.
If you crave for something new and that will offer you a change of scenery, this album’s for you.
Reverence – The Asthenic Ascension
Shit is dark. Black metallers from France Reverence bring us a dreadfully bleak record, named The Asthenic Ascension. I am not one who particularly like black metal, but this band sure knows how to please me. Maybe it’s the elements they share with death metal, or maybe it’s the total lack of connection between them and power metal, or maybe it is both… This album is in my CD player quite often, and you should really do the same, these guys know how to write music that will make you shiver.
Rings of Saturn – Dingir
There’s been quite a controversy for this album. First it has been leaked, then the band gave it for free so that people don’t only hear a shitty version of it, and then there’s been the “half-tempo recording” accusations. Listen, I couldn’t care less about this, seriously. I believe the band can play their stuff live, not like poseurs Dragonforce, and I don’t care if they used this for recording only to get a cleaner sound in the end. I mean, what do you care? Would you also start a controversy by accusing guitarists who do not use real amps? Or bands using programmed drums? In the end, would you accuse bands that use any kind of technology? Come on…
Stray no more we will. Dingir is one hell of an album. It’s fast, and so technical it’s almost unimaginable. If you’re into that kind of stuff, you’ll love the album, it is great.
The Safety Fire – Grind the Ocean
The first thing you’ll notice about this band is their singer’s amazingly brute voice, although he can do pretty sweet clean sections. Then, there’s the music, which is kinda reminiscent of Periphery at parts, mixing djent with math metal and a good dose of heavy groove. Of course, there are some progressive licks here and there, but it’s not the thing that will strike you the most. This album will help you get through the tough days of winter.
Trioscapes – Separate Realities
Trioscapes is your daily dose of fusiony jazz-metal, and a relief for the guitar-saturated ears out there, for there is none on this album! Only comprising of drums, bass, and a saxophone (along with other uncommon instruments scarcely played throughout the album), Separate Realities is sure to give you something you would not think of listening to by your own. The musicianship is brilliant and the songs are well-built so we get all that we want: odd time signatures, different soundscapes, some musicians showing off, and even some parts that are sure to stick in your head.
I will definitely try to put some of this during a dinner in the coming days of festivity.
Vanisher – Unbound
The complete album is just so good! It’s hard not to bob your head to these songs. It’s nothing complicated, but man does it work! The vocal lines will definitely get stuck in your head, and the music is sure to get you pumped. Great, great album!
War From A Harlots Mouth – Voyeur
How didn’t I know this album before, like, a few weeks ago? Damn, this is some tasty dark metal, with an imperfect production which adds to the darkness of the music. I love it when the production of an album adds to its overall feeling and mood. This is just the case, here. Forget your Mansoor perfectly sterile production, and hail the sounds that make you fear music.
Interesting meter changes and stylistic variations will keep you listening all the way through Voyeur. Get this album and offer it to your grandma, or play it just after the prayer, it’s sure to get everyone dancing and shit.
That’s it for the official twelve albums of the year, folks! Fortunately, some bands did put out some EPs that, while not figuring above because of their unlengthiness, are noticeably good. Behold.
Hacktivist – Hacktivist EP
In my days, there has been a hype on what was called “nu metal”. It was a blend of rap and quote unquote “metal”. There was Korn, Limp Bizkit, and Linkin Park, among others, which were big names of the newborn genre.
Although not being quite successful in the long run, Hacktivist bring us back in the early 00’s with this EP. Don’t mistake me, however, and it’s not a retro album. It’s current as fuck, with some really great djent which is rapped upon. Give ’em a chance to ally some of the most distant genres ever, rap and djent.
NYN – The Anachronist
While not being officially an EP, the album is pretty short, and that’s why it’s here amongst EPs. The concept album is cool, and shows some great musicianship and songwriting skills. It’s extreme, fast-paced, and complicated at parts. You’ll definitely like it, and if you haven’t seen its mastermind Noyan’s jaw-dropping 9-string TRON-inspired guitar, I highly suggest you do so now.
The Prize Fighter Inferno – Half Measures EP
However, this is really one of my favourite releases this year. Maybe it’s my absolute love for Claudio Sanchez’s (Coheed and Cambria) work, but man this EP puts joy in my heart. It’s the second release from his side project PFI, and it’s radically different from the first one, My Brother’s Blood Machine. In a way, there is some kind of consistency. I mean, there was electronic songs on it, but the whole was way more eclectic. There was acoustic songs, electronic ones, others were more industrial rock… I’m not unhappy with the result, but it is almost 100% electronic/alternative. If you’re not into this, I can understand, but at least give this heartwarmer a try.
Tetrafusion – Horizons EP
Wow… This CD is just so great!!! I like everything there is on there. I gotta admit it took me quite some time to appreciate the singer’s voice completely, but now I adore it, his voice is beautiful. And Mark, their bassist, now also in Scale The Summit, will crush your pitiful bassist ego mercilessly. Same goes with the other instruments, I guess, I’m just not a drummer or a guitarist. The album is nothing brutal or extreme, but it is so good… Thinking of it, Dream Theater could really have turned exactly like this, years ago, maybe just after Images & Words, but they decided to follow another path. Tetrafusion is sick, get this.
Not fitting into any of the above categories, a few other bands and artists are unmissable. Let’s put them here.
Amogh Symphony – Abolishing the Obsolete System (Platinum Edition)
This is kind of a re-release of Amogh Symphony’s two amazingly ceasuresque albums, Abolishing the Obsolete System, and The Quantum Hack Code. There’s not much to say about it except hyperboles and metaphors just so you can imagine all the beauty, craziness, and the musicianship that’s contained within these series of 0 and 1. The best way to know for yourself is to go and check it out ASAP!
Fountainhead – Fountainhead plays Despotic
This album features fretless guitar wankery, what more should I say? Get it here.
Finally, there are also some really, really great albums that you should definitely listen to, but given the restricted nature of Top X’s, they just weren’t there. I’ll just put all the other worthy albums of the year down here, and be sure to check them all!
Acheode – Anxiety
Akphaezya – Anthology IV : The Tragedy of Nerak
Coheed & Cambria – The Afterman : Ascension
The Contorsionist – Intrinsic
Cytotoxin – Radiophobia
Dawnbringer – Into the Lair of the Sun God
Exotic Animal Petting Zoo – Tree of Tongues
Family – Portrait
Look Right Penny – Sugar Lane
LVM Trio – LVM Trio
Meshuggah – Koloss
Periphery – Periphery II : This Time It’s Personal!
Rush – Clockwork Angels
Sithu Aye – Isles EP; Invent the Universe
SoundAsleep – Phéromones
24192 – (Note : This guy’s pretty mysterious, he doesn’t really have an album, but you can download his tracks, and it’s fucking groovy!)