Blog Archives

Mammal’s 21-Year Hit Parade: 2001 / #4 – #3


MetalCatBorknagar’s folk black metal pops up again today, but I think this is the first appearance of Gojira’s thrash death in my selections. I could try to remember but that won’t work. I don’t even remember… now what was it I don’t remember? Damn. I could check on my year-by-year lists but that would mean switching on the computer. I’m not feeling very energetic today. Dark Metal Cat says I should do as he does and sleep 20 hours a day.

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Mik’s Top 100 Favourite Albums of All Time – The top 5


Top100A while ago, at the same time as Matt and Reggie, I posted my Top 100 All Time Favourite (Metal) Albums over at the forum The History of Metal on FB. It took a good amount of time and effort to put it together, but it was so much fun! My taste in metal is always changing, so the list will not always look the same. In fact, it’s already a bit different than it was when I first put it together and posted it on the forum seven months ago.

I tried to limit myself to three albums per band to make the list a little more diverse and interesting. I don’t really consider the ‘test of time’-factor when selecting what albums that will go on my list, instead I measure it by how strongly the album has affected me emotionally and how much/often it has helped me through both good and bad phases in my life. That’s why you can find quite a few newer releases among my favourites too. 

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We’re down to the last post, my top five best albums ever released of all the thousands and thousands of cd’s I’ve listened to during the years. 

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#5  Altar Of Plagues – Teethed Glory And Injury

An album from 2013 which, after almost daily spins throughout most of last year, has to be mentioned in the top of this list. Like I said in my review;  it is an extremely rewarding listen. It’s an album packed with depth, darkness and tortured pain executed in the most beautiful way. Primitive and intimate music with a forceful and disturbing atmosphere. Music like this is necessary to balance out all the melodic and proggy stuff in my cd-collection.

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Mik’s Top 100 Favourite Albums of All Time #15-11


Top100A while ago, at the same time as Matt and Reggie, I posted my Top 100 All Time Favourite (Metal) Albums over at the forum The History of Metal on FB. It took a good amount of time and effort to put it together, but it was so much fun! My taste in metal is always changing, so the list will not always look the same. In fact, it’s already a bit different than it was when I first put it together and posted it on the forum seven months ago.

I tried to limit myself to three albums per band to make the list a little more diverse and interesting. I don’t really consider the ‘test of time’-factor when selecting what albums that will go on my list, instead I measure it by how strongly the album has affected me emotionally and how much/often it has helped me through both good and bad phases in my life. That’s why you can find quite a few newer releases among my favourites too.

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#15 Tool – 10, 000 Days

An album that took forever to get into and eventually ended up being one of my most loved records. It’s quite different from Tool’s other albums, more emotional and quirky.  I can’t choose a favourite song, but these two tracks, dedicated to the singer’s mother who passed away after being paralyzed for 10,000 days, includes some of the most beautiful music this band has ever composed.

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Songs That Define My Taste In Music #4 & #3 (Mik)


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#4 The songwriting and lyrics

The biggest part of my musical heart belongs to progressive metal, mainly because I like the complex and diverse nature of the music, the excellent songwriting, carefully thought out lyrics and lengthy tracks. The best thing is when bands compose concept albums that are one long, consecutive song, like TesseracT’s ‘Concealing Fate’ and Uneven Structure’s ‘Februus’. Another example of good songwriting and lyrics:

Gojira – Pain Is A Master

#3 Emotional Vocals

A vocalist with a powerful and versatile voice is very often present in the music I like the most. I’ve realized it’s a very important component; instrumental music doesn’t interest me much at all. I love a sincere, emotional voice with a good range that can perform many different styles like Daniel Tompkins (Skyharbor), Ilkka Viitasalo (Benea Reach), ICS Vortex (Borknagar) Daniel de Jongh (Textures)

Skyharbor – Catharsis 

EP Review: Brutai – Brutai


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This should come with a warning-sticker that says “highly addictive music”.

A good friend of mine has been saying lots of positive things about the five tracks on this EP, and after a couple of spins I have to say he’s right. This is an impressive collection of groovy songs with a progressive and modern sound, which should appeal to fans of classic heavy metal just as much as it will to people that prefer newer styles. It’s slightly reminiscent of both Symphony X and Iced Earth, with heavy, hard-hitting music and melodic singing, but Brutai also mixes in elements of metalcore and progressive death metal, which gives a nice edgy feel to their songs.

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Musings of the Heavy Metal Hippie: Of Blood and Salt by Gojira


SeaMonsterGodzilla2Not particularly a doom, stoner, or southern rock band, one can not deny Gojira’s contribution to Hippie Metal. You see a big characteristic of a ‘hippie’ is a love for the environment and also taking action to help improve it. Gojira does this in spades. Nearly all of their songs are themed around environmental issues and it’s member are all active in many groups focused on bettering our amazing Earth.
In 2011 Gojira recorded “Of Blood and Salt” for an EP that was to be released to raise funds for the Sea Shepard charity. Unfortunately some complications arose where they lost all their data for what they have recorded and vowed to rerecord the EP after their new album settled in. Recently Joe Duplantier reaffirmed that the Sea Shepherd EP wasn’t forgotten about and they would release it at a time when ‘it’s done’. Gojira come off as men of their words, so I would expect to hear the EP sometime in the future. Until then, you can listen to “Of Blood and Salt” while you brainstorm some ideas you can do to help the environment 🙂 Peace Love and Metal!!!

Album Review: Moth – Endlessly In Motion


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Reverse what we’ve been building for, destroy any progress
We’ll turn ourselves into machines
Hard to realize the depth and low that we’re reaching

Erase the steps to evolve into something with meaning
Reverse our evolution cycle; declining minds prevail to shun the will of expanding insight.

Grow no longer. The light has died, in this form we can’t survive.
We reverse design through time. We reverse the flow of life.

 

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I have found a lot of fantastic debuts from bands lately and ‘Endlessly In Motion’ by Moth is another impressive one. It was released only two months ago and I knew this record was a must-buy after the first time I heard it. It’s hard to put this music into a genre and to describe their sound. I would say Moth has a Gojira-like influence on their songs, a kind of proggy death, with similar emotional vocals, repeating guitars and heavy, fast-paced drumming. They added ambient moments together with some clean sections and the result is an album with complex music that is easy to listen to and like.

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The Power of the Riff Compels Me Pt. I


rhps-crh03-riffrafftimewarplThe riff, a melodic phrase, often constantly repeated, forming an accompaniment or part of an accompaniment for a soloist.  In metal, we are not lacking in the heavy use of them.  In fact the large majority of all metal and hard rock revolves around the riff.  The riff is what hooks you into a song, it’s what drives to keep you engaged, it’s what determines the phrasing of a good solo or breakdown.  So, needlessly saying, a fine riff will often lead to a great song.  Some bands excel at creating bold and brazen riffs (eg. doom metal, death metal, groove metal) and others may use a more mellow, low-key riff to build atmospheres for the other instruments to build a dynamic off of (eg. black metal, post-metal).   But whatever the approach is, the power of the riff compels us!

Some riffs have gone down in metal history as the greatest groups of music ever created.  Upon hearing the first few notes of the riff, you can identify the song in no time flat and chances are that the riff has spent extended time stuck in your brain more than once.  Here’s a list of what I consider the best riffs of heavy metal.  To show fairness to the newer bands out there, they’ll get inclusions also, so if you see a track you don’t know here, give it a listen, I guarantee there will be a damn sick riff contained within.  But on the flipside, I also feel that the real signifier of a solid and memorable riff is the test of time.  If over 20 years after hearing it the effect it has on me is still the same and my enjoyment of the song is still immense, then that sir, is a f’n killer riff.  To not turn this into a list of best Black Sabbath, Pantera, or ‘Tallica riffs, I’m limiting myself to one song per band, so if you dig a riff more than one not included in the list, make sure to give it a shout out in the comments.  And also, this is just scratching the surface of the best riffs in metal/hard rock, so be prepared for part deuce. Enjoy!!  Peace Love and Metal!!

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Album Review: Tempus Fusion – To End It All


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As a modern Armageddon strips the world of its lifeline and plagues humanity with darkness…  

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All that’s left to do..  is abandon all hope”

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Progressive metal is where my heart lies. When I find a prog metal album with a fresh and captivating sound, my heart skips a beat out of pure joy. This is what happened when I first listened to Tempus Fusion’s  debut  “To End It All” a couple of months ago.  I would describe it as a mix between Gojira and Soilwork due to their dark atmosphere blended with heavy riffs and rolling drums, powerful vocals and unpredictable melodies.

The band was formed in the UK in 2009, by the guitarist Tim Goatham, who is also a member of the symphonic metal band Season’s End. The album is self-released, with a crystal clear production and the total playtime is almost an hour, every song is over six minutes long. Perfect!

The first track, Abandon All Hope, is a great opener and one of my favourites, with memorable riffs and a great variety throughout the song. That is also the definition of the rest of the album; parts with crushingly heavy drums and guitars, strong melodies and dynamic songs that create an interesting listening experience. It never gets too much or too “out of control”, you can easily hear that these songs all belong on the same album.  Many times the vocals sound as if they’re recorded from far away, which I feel has a major impact on the atmosphere of the music. The singer present a wide range of cleans and growls and has a voice that really suits this music style.

When listening I go through all kinds of different emotions and moods in the songs, starting with the intro speech full of fear and indifference. The first song continues into hopelessness and sadness, but at the same time I can’t help but feel happy because the music is beautiful and well written. The 22-minute title track To End It All  is full of energy, and floats through dreams, anger and passion.  Another track to pay special attention to is This Automated Nightmare, it’s stunning and fits perfectly after the long, heavy title track.

And they end it all with Mnemonic and The Predators Are Here, the heaviest songs on the album. It leaves me longing for more.

Rating: 5/5

For fans of Devin Townsend, Scar Symmetry, Gojira, Soilwork and TesseracT

http://tempusfusion.bandcamp.com/

http://www.facebook.com/tempusfusionband

 

Matt’s Top 15 Albums of 2012


bestof2012I know every year I say that this was one of the best years in metal, but its true, and 2012 was no different.  I guess that says a lot about the state of modern heavy metal.  The genre has grown into something that was unfathomable at its inception.  In no other genre will you find such a diverse set of different acts all boasting such pure passion for what they do.  I was also exposed much more music than usual this year since Metal State kinda took off with a spike in readers (thank you!!!) and we started receiving promos from labels and bands looking for exposure (don’t worry, we won’t tell you about the crappy stuff or skew our opinions because a label hooked us up with some free music or a t-shirt).  So, when I think about 2012 in metal I can’t help but to return to reflecting on how diverse the genre has become.  You will see in my toplist that no single sub-genre really dominates (well I guess you can tell I am a fan a prog metal and was big into the female fronted doom metal bands this year) and there are some amazing albums all across the board in metal this year.  There were also a ton I left out which I will post about in the coming days in a quick honorable mentions post.  So enough dilly dallying, let’s get it on!  Enjoy!! Peace Love and Metal!!!

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