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Mammal’s Best of 2015 – The Winners


Logo Winners

 

My heartiest congratulations go to the winners in all of my categories. So does my deep gratitude to all of the finalists and winners for making such great albums in an excellent year for all the types of modern music I love. To you good folks who’ve been following my hit parades, I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing some of your picks included in my lists, and I hope you also found something new to explore.

Keep on rawkin’.

 

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Mammal’s Best of 2015 – Part 6/10


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Over the weekend I checked the album selections for 2015 on quite a few websites that cover the various genres I love. Some of them, especially those with long lists like mine, feature bands I’ve never heard of. No doubt my lists include bands many people don’t know.

I believe I speak for all of us at Metal State when I say we end every year with a nagging, twitchy feeling that we missed something great during the year. It’s almost certain that we did. In the last 12 months we were offered a couple of thousand albums to review. No person, and no team of four reviewers, could possibly listen properly to that many albums.

To the bands that did make it onto my lists, even if I ranked you #50 that means I liked your work more than a few hundred other albums I played and enjoyed. The same goes for the lists my weird esteemed colleagues have posted. More good music is being made now than at any time, and I’ve been listening to plenty of music during most of my two-thirds of a century on this planet.

 

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Mammal’s 21-Year Hit Parade: 2013, #5 – #1


MetalCatAnd so we reach the final countdown in my personal 21-year journey through metal. If you all promise to behave nicely, I promise not to post that song by Europe.

It’s been a good ride. Thinking back to the first time I heard Sabbath, metal has given me a wonderful ride for more than 40 years.

What’s really beautiful about metal – to me, at least – is that it keeps growing bigger, more diverse and better. I greatly look forward to continuing the journey until my brain atrophies again, as it did a couple of years ago when it turned into a fossil like the rest of me.

 

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Mammal’s 21-Year Hit Parade: 2013, #20 – #16


MetalCatWhile 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

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Mammal’s 21-Year Hit Parade: 2012, #3 – #1


MetalCatA couple of the songs that top my list for 2013 are rather long. They’re worth it, says Dark Metal Cat. Aeon Zen’s song is my ideal of what a prog metal song should be. Of course it leans strongly towards the prog quarter. The Wintersun song embodies just about everything I love about harder melodic metal. It’s one of the best songs I’ve heard in the last 64 years, 9 months and 5 days.

The shorter number by Diablo Swing Orchestra is so… out there… that it sets the bar for many types of experimental metal.

 

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Mammal’s 21-Year Hit Parade: 2008, #4 – #1


MetalCatDark Metal Cat has issued an advisory that this series has come under the scrutiny of the NSA because today’s episode includes no American bands. American metalheads may laugh at this allegation. Yeah? How did the NSA know what I was going to select before I did?

So today we have Amon Amarth, Sieges Even, Opeth and To-Mera. Dark Metal Cat has issued an advisory that the NSA has listed all of those band names as code words for secret meeting places where “strange people” in the USA listen to European bands.

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Mammal’s 21-Year Hit Parade: 2006 / #3 – #1


MetalCatWhen I started making my annual hit parade lists four months ago I knew Diablo Swing Orchestra and Leprous would be near the top a few times each. I expected one of them to be number one for 2006. When I was doing my bubble-sort and playing song against song, however, a bunch of guys from Finland leapt out of the forest and surprised every one of me.

 

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Mammal’s 21-Year Hit Parade: 2002 / #9 – #7


MetalCatSoaring prog metal from Germany, thoughtful experimental metal from Sweden and stompin’ power metal from Spain. That feels like a good mid-week mix to me.

Dark Metal Cat caught and killed a mouse this morning. I had to buy a new one from the computer shop.

 

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Super Massive Black Holes – Calculations of the Ancients


If you think you can get away with listening to Calculations of the Ancients one time and get it, think again.   You’ll need more time to be captivated by the new album from Super Massive Black Holes.  The April 29, 2014 release can be described as experimental and/or math metal as they seamlessly blend death metal, rock, jazz-fusion, and prog into their nine-track album.  It’s a dangerous dose of metal, but is it too much?  All good things in moderation they say.  Super Massive Black Holes, does boast many elements, but the saving grace here is that they make it work…and work well.  Enjoy the stream.  By the way, I dig the album cover.  Simple, but effective.

Album review: Mord’A’Stigmata – Ansia


Ansia Genre: Avant-garde black metal.
Release date: October 29, 2013.
Label: Pagan Records.
Recommended to: Fans of ambient and progressive black metal; atmospheric doom; experimental prog metal; drone and sludge.

This is the kind of music your parents warned you about if your mom and dad were really stupid.

More perceptive parents might encourage their cuddly little 23-year-old children with black-and-white painted faces to listen to this album for its educational qualities. It presents a gripping, disturbing and magnificently moving sensation of what it must feel like to be a tortured soul writhing in the depths of Hell.

If your parents are hyper-intelligent, they’ll listen to this and shout, “Unholy non-gods! This is a splendid exploration of new directions in the darkest of metal!” Read the rest of this entry