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Reggie’s Top 15 Albums of 2014

Colourful 2014 in fiery sparklersThis 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

Mammal’s 21-Year Hit Parade: 2009, #20 – #17

MetalCatI played with anagrams of the names of the bands featured in today’s selection. To make an anagram, you take a word or words and mix the letters up to make a new word or words.

Here’s what I got:
Witchbreed – Chew Red Bit
Animals As Leaders – A Sad Nameless Liar
Depressed Mode – Odd Deeper Mess

There’s not much you can do with a name like OSI, so I made an anagram of the song title:
The Escape Artist – Pat Eats Heretics

While I’m at it, Dark Metal Cat becomes Tackle Mad Art, ChristopherMammal converts into Limp Comma Thrasher, and A Metal State Of Mind turns into Male Teat Manifolds.

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Mik’s Top 50 – Intros That Instantly Grab My Attention #17-18

#18 Animals as Leaders – Odessa

This intro sounds like something out of a video game or a tune I could set as my alarm on my phone in the morning.  You have no idea what kind of song to expect when first hearing it and that’s partly what makes it so good. It’s a gentle electronic sound, but not too irritating, intro that leads into an instrumental song with wonderful guitars. ‘Odessa’ is from Animals as Leader’s second album ‘Weightless’, released in 2011.


#17 Decapitated – Spheres of Madness

I have noticed, in my search for good intros, that most guitar-riffing intros sound pretty much the same and it usually isn’t very long before the vocalists starts singing and the intro-part is over. Here’s an intro-riff that goes on for over a minute, it’s quite minimalistic but has just enough variation to not make me lose interest in the song. ‘Spheres of Madness’ is written by the Polish tech/death metal band Decapitated and is from the album ‘Nihility, released in 2002.


Themed Thursday-An Introduction to Djent

About a month ago I finally decided to take a look into this strange word that has been popping up all over the place on various metal blogs and sites.  That odd word is “Djent”.  Is it a genre?  Is it a style?  Is it a sound?  Well after a bit of good ol’ online research I have found that is a combination of those 3 questions.  It is an umbrella genre that is used to classify a style of music that uses specific techniques to create distinct sounds.  The music within this “Djent” genre is very diverse going from very graceful to very aggressive often being a mix of the two. While all the music within this new-found genre are often quite different from each other they share 2 main things in common: a focus on percussive sounds and a love for the technical side of things(before the genre term was coined you could say that much of the music contained within would be considered progressive or math metal).

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