clappamungus: (King Diamond)
[personal profile] clappamungus
I already did this in Faecesbook because, well, I'm lazy, and it was easier. But damn it, I keep saying I'm going to stay off that shitty enabling social network of doom, and I'll be damned if I don't at least half get that right. So here we are, with album art and a youtube clip for each (well, if I can find one - I'm not going through all the fucktardry of actually uploading tracks myself if they're not there).

This is by no means all the releases I listened to, and there were some that didn't make the lists but were close (as evidenced by the "almost-rans"). And yes, they were all metal. Because I'm a narrow-minded, elitist wanktard that way, obviously. (In all seriousness, I did listen to non-metal this year but not enough to make as comprehensive a list as the one below).


Top 10 (alphabetical)

Arkham Witch – On Crom’s Mountain


The remnants of doom legends Lamp of Thoth come back with a new band full of drinking, fucking and fighting metal! The mandatory Lovecraftian tones are present and accounted for, as are old Norse references, but all wonderfully tongue-in-cheek.


Blood Ceremony – Living With The Ancients


Female-fronted occult doom with a strong 70s vibe. Fun and crushing. And a flute! That's where the Tull references end though - this has more in common with Sabbath.


Devil – Time To Repent


True story - I didn't like this band's first EP. But this album clicked with me - even though some of the songs carried over. Stronger production (i.e. more atmospheric) and some great cuts, fun and rollicking doom rock.
 

Manilla Road – Playground of the Damned



If you can get over the weird production on this album (and apparently on the CD it's even worse - I have the vinyl and the mix is a bit wrong) - and, let's face it, the production on most Manilla Road albums released in the last decade - you're in for their usual brand of epic, blistering songcraft. Not as huge in scope as 2008's Voyager but more stand-alone songs like those in Spiral Castle; regardless, as usual they're inspired. I can't praise this album enough, production and all.


Orchid – Capricorn



This has been described as the "long lost Sabbath album". I wouldn't go that far - it's obviously a different band taking their cues from old Sabbathian rites. Look at the song titles, for Christ's sake. And yet, as shamelessly unoriginal as it is, it's FUCKING INCREDIBLE. Only Iommi wrote riffs this good, and the singer is basically what Ozzy wishes he always was.
 

Portrait - Crimen Laesae Majestatis Divinae



Another true story - I've never got into the first album by this band. It was basically good, but played like second-rate Mercyful Fate to me, with a vocalist who was trying his hardest to be King Diamond but failing spectacularly. However, they've since got a better vocalist and more chops, and this new album is magical. Yes, in its most basic form it's MF worship, but with extra flourish, some influence from sources like old-school Dissection, and some blistering songwriting, they've risen above mere homage into an evil, melodic old school BM outfit that could really bring back that style of awesome demonic heavy metal to an appreciative audience, they way King and Co. did way back then. Very worthy successors.


Rote Mare – Serpents of the Church



Local (well, Adeladian) crushing, sorrowful doom that every now and then turns into a funereal marching cavorting monster. The last song is an ode to Black Sabbath which, unfortunately, sucks, but the rest of it is pure class. I even like Phil Howlett's amateurish clean vocals - they're full of despair and wistful anger. No ground that has not been tread but, seriously (and I cannot stress this enough) - originality is vastly overrated. Case in point: Dillinger Escape Plan. YES I FUCKING SAID IT.


Sabbat – Sabbatrinity



The Japanese marauding maniacs are back to stomp your poseur head in with more bestial, filthy break-necked black/thrash. Their first full-length album in some time, and they've lost none of what makes them awesome. I love bands like this (Manilla Road is another one) who've been around for years, don't deviate in the face of new trends yet still manage to sound inspired on every release.


The Gates of Slumber – The Wretch



From the driving, epic Hymns of Blood and Thunder, the maudlin, wretched The Wretch. Yes, I know, not very clever. This album goes from pounding thumpers to slow groovy dirges to sheer misery. This band is really something - far greater than the sum of their parts.


Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats – Blood Lust



[livejournal.com profile] samjolnir, I believe, described this along the lines of "gnarly, 70s style analogue doom". Yep. This sounds like an old recording lifted straight out of a dusty old storage box that no one had ventured into for 40 years. In other words - awesome. Some of the most authentic retro-doom I've ever heard, but not in the slightest bit redundant. I'm just waiting for a vinyl release (and if I've missed it I'll be pissed off).



Almost in top 10 (also alphabetical)


Doomsword – The Eternal Battle



(can't find one from the new album, so have one from their '03 effort, Let Battle Commence).

It's very easy to overuse the word "epic" but that's what these Italian masters are: epic. Purveyors of fine, EPIC heavy metal. The best of Brocas Helm, Manilla Road and their ilk, old, old metal from a better time and put to glorious tales of grandeur. This album took me a few spins to really appreciate, and I still haven't fully done so which is why it didn't make the top 10. But a fine effort nevertheless, and one I'll revisit many times.


Hell – Human Remains



This band's story is a tragic one, but finally, after all these years, they've put out their first full-length album. And, even with the updated production and the ridiculous image that makes them look a bit like refugees from a Cradle of Filth video (see above), this album fucking rocks. I've heard most of the older demo versions of these, and I must say they not only hold up well, but are more powerful. If only these guys had managed to do this in the 80s and gotten credit for it back then...who knows what might have been?


In Solitude – The World, The Flesh, The Devil



Following a similar blackened path as their bretheren in Portrait (hell, they've even both been signed to the same major label!), In Solitude nevertheless aren't as frantic as the aforementioned band, nor do they have quite the same chops. I consider them as a little more accessible too. Still an superlative album though.


Midnight – Satanic Royalty



Jamie Walters' (aka Athenar) blackened speed metal outfit, who have been kicking around in the underground for quit some time now, and finally have a full-length, which is raw as fuck, catchy and nasty. Not as nasty as some of the earlier stuff, though - a certain newish sheen kind of takes away from the filthiness of it all which made it so appealing. Nevertheless, I love the blackened Motörhead approach.


Lord Vicar – Signs of Osiris



The only reason this didn't make my top 10 list was because I haven't listened to it enough to truly appreciate it - but this album is a monster. Ironically, I didn't like their much-beloved first album Fear No Pain as much as everyone else seemed to. Here, they've trimmed fat in terms of needless repetition and the grand scope of this album is breathtaking.


Ramesses – Possessed by the Rise of Majik
 


This is probably the most dismal and soul-sucking album I've ever heard. The darkness on this is just incredible - the weird, ethereal songwriting and the strange vastness of the production makes this a lonely experience to listen to. By that I mean that when you listen to this album, especially through earphones, you get a sense of being entirely shut off from reality, from any other human beings, in another world. Again another one I haven't entirely come to terms with - but I do think it's up there, and it barely missed out on the top 10.



Disappointments


YOB – Atma



Oh YOB. Why? This album, whilst not necessarily bad, is just a bit boring. And even though YOB play the kind of long, slow, dragged (and drugged) out stoner/doom that should induce sleep, their past albums have always kept me on the edge of my seat due to their uncanny ability to write riffs that KEEP you anticipating the next move, even if you know it's coming. They've never bored me. Until this album. They seem to have lost that ability, and I hope they find it again for the next album.


Pentagram – Last Rites



A real disappointment, this. Pentagram are one of my favourite doom bands, but this album just didn't click. The song above is probably the best, as it's actually one of their older ones revamped (like a fair few of the cuts on this album), but where's the filthy, spacious guitar tone? Where's the basement feel? Where's Bobby Liebling caterwauling? The whole album plays this way - safe and polished, which has never been Pentagram. Maybe it truly is the last rites...



A Bit Meh


Megadeth - Th1rt3en




Dream Theater –  A Dramatic Turn of Events




Two very different bands, I know, but I feel the same about both albums they released this year. Both these albums are competent, better than the last one each respective band released, but just don't really hold much interest for me anymore. I truly feel that way about both, although I like the Dream Theater one a bit better as there is a bit of inspired songwriting in the second half when they remember that they're a prog band rather than a Mike Portnoy-inspired chug machine. But as I'm getting older, I seem to be less accepting of these super-produced, streamlined and padded-out albums. And every now and then, there's a killer thrash riff on the 'Deth album, but then it's back to that old filler, Countdown to Extinction snorefest material. I'm sick of hearing that every new Megadeth album is the next Rust In Peace. If they stopped with the damned hype I'd probably appreciate their new albums more. The differences between them? On the Megadeth album, it largely sounds like they're going through the motions. On the DT one, it sounds like they're trying very hard to prove themselves in the aftermath of a founding member leaving but quite often falling back into lazy old habits again. Either way, they're both a bit meh.



I Will Scorch The Earth Because of These (i.e. FUCKING TERRIBLE)


Gods Tower – Steel Slays Last



I can't believe, after the hiatus, and the masterpieces that were the albums The Turns and The Eerie, that Gods Tower would release this utter abomination. Honestly, it's the cheesiest thing I've heard this side of fucking Dragonforce. And when it's not cheesy, it tries for epic and sonically pounding, and fails. Horribly. Alexander Urakoff is probably spinning violently in his grave, and I hope he comes back to haunt the rest of the band.


Opeth - Heritage



I hate Opeth. I hate them with the fiery heat of a million suns. I tried to like them way back then, and I didn't mind their bland brand of death metal at first, but quickly grew to be crushingly bored by it. But apparently they've gone all prog recently, and this album is supposedly a homage to the great 70s prog masters, as well as an attempt to forge a new identity. Well, they've done so. And it sucks. It basically sounds like they listened to King Crimson, Genesis and Pink Floyd, then ate the albums, and shat them out again at random intervals. There's no flow, no memorability and no effective songwriting. Well done, Blopeth, you've managed to become even more boring and irrelevant, while somehow convincing half the metal world that you're fucking geniuses. Again.



So Hilariously Bad I'm Still Laughing


Lou Reed/Metallica - Lulu




or...


 

Morbid Angel - Illiud Divinum Insanus




Or..



Both presented without comment. Well, except this: even if you're not familiar with Morbid Angel and their legacy, one listen of "Too Extreme" should tell you all you need to know - Shit Sandwich. And as for Metallica and Lou Reed...well...yeah....if you're James Hetfield, and there are a million parodies out there about you being "A Table", you know that you've just produced one of the most hilariously awful albums in history.


Gallhammer - The End



I quite liked this band, even while I understood why other people hated them. But this effort is so bad it's indescribable. The above clip is the only one from this album I could find, and it's basically what happens to a black/crust/doom band when you take out their guitarist (she left for some reason) and leave the bassist, the drummer, and no bleeding inspiration whatsoever. What the above clip doesn't have (as far as I remember - all the tracks blur) is the drummer doing vocals. Think a puppy dog yelping after it's had a helium balloon shoved up its arse. You'd think that'd be an interesting diversion to the bone-wearying tedium, but it's not. Really, it's just not...

Well, that post took way too long for something that only a few people will even bother reading... ;P
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