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Metal State’s Best of the Best: 2010-2014 #10


Medals

In our quest to keep youse guys informed about the best heavy metal has to offer and to stroke our own egos, we have engaged in a no-holds-barred battle royale to decide on the top ten albums of five-year periods flowing backwards from modern times to the years when stock in hairspray and cocaine went hand in hand (i.e. the 80s). Two or three times a week we will reveal a collective pick from the individual nominations, culminating in the best record of each block. Some picks will be obvious, some surprises, all the best the genre has to offer. Enjoy!! Peace Love and Metal!!!

 

Xerath - II#10: Xerath – II

Progressive Death Metal (UK, 2011)
Nominated by ChristopherMammal

Xerath like to describe their music as cinematic. It matches that description by combining progressive death with extremely melodic metal, richly rounded by the soundtrack style of the keyboards, the vaulted vocal choruses and epic grandeur in the compositions. The solo harsh vocals would be just as well suited to melodic black metal as death, which adds an extra layer of pleasure for me. The guitars, bass and drums, too, are unconstrained by anything formulaic.

The considerable use of keyboards may push Xerath a little too far into prog territory to satisfy the more hardline metalheads completely. My love of prog rock, however, makes Xerath my sort of metal band. There are plenty of dark, almost brutal passages in the music, as well as sections brimming with thrashy groove, but the overall sound of Xerath places great emphasis on melody.

What I’ve written describes all three of Xerath’s albums. Their debut album in 2009 bowled me over. So did their third album, released last year. All of their music is terrific. What swung my pendulum towards their second album is the mighty opening track, “Unite to Defy”. It’s one of my favourite metal songs of this century.

 

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Album Review: Def-Con-One – II


SC 235-2 DEF-CON-ONEThe opening riff in H8 Ball reminds me of a familiar Pantera riff.  The similarity kind of ends there as the song evolves, but that particular riff gives me an early Pantera feeling.  Besides, there are tons of worse bands to be compared to; Pantera is surely a complement.  Unlike many opening thrash songs that are fast and pulse pounding, this one is more calculated, slow, and bone crushing.  II is the name of Def-Con-One’s second studio album.  It’s a simple enough title broadly indicating the sophomore effort, but does it hold its own weight against their debut, one that was given the nod of approval two years ago here on A Metal State of Mind?  In short, yes.  Their debut was described as a militaristic style with its machine gun double bass and tight riffing.  II offers a similarly intense level of ferocity as Warface, but it’s packaged a bit differently.

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