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Mammal’s most recommended new albums: Jazzy stuff


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Last time I did death metal. Next time will be more death metal. As an interlude and a diversion, I offer you my top choice of jazz and jazz-related albums of the year so far. Once again I’m wearing my Other Music Guy hat that my colleagues at Metal State made for me. It has pictures of bunnies and kittens on it.

Most jazz doesn’t slot easily into most metal brains. There are, however, metal lovers whose tastes are broad. Yes, some of you even like jazz, or at least the better rock, prog or metal with a jazzy flavor. If you have a sense of adventure and exploration, try this bunch. They are five very different types of music. Jazz has numerous sub-genres, just as metal does.

You may note I’ve given the highest rating to all of these picks.

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Mammal’s most recommended new albums: Melodic & symphonic death metal


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Trying to pick out the very best death metal of the year so far was a bitch of a job. Of the many deathy albums we’ve been invited (and sometimes we’ve asked) to review, there are dozens I like. Eventually I decided the fairest approach would be to divide those albums into three groups – melodic and symphonic death; prog and technical death; and assorted death. That still left a pile of death to listen to.

Not that I minded, of course. Listening to and writing about music has become my consuming pastime since I sort of retired when I turned 65. Even so, I shall use one of the M-words to describe the nature of the task in hand. It was… no, not Majestic. Massive, yes. Monumental… yeah, that’s good because it fits so much of the music on my death row.

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Mammal’s most recommended new albums: Core


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Two-thirds of the way through the year, I find that the four unreviewed ’core releases I’ve enjoyed the most were all issued in the opening months of 2015. There have been many other good ’core albums in our Inbox, but these are the ones that call to me most sweetly. Two of the four are EPs, not full albums, which goes to show yet again that quality matters much more than quantity in music.

As always, my picks are sub-genres of the melodious and experimental ilk. That doesn’t mean I’m soppy, it reveals that I’m half hippie.

The albums and EPs are listed alphabetically by name of the artist. Any rating of 4 or more on Metal State equates to “Geez, gotta have this!”

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Mammal’s most recommended new albums: Black metal


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So much good metal has come out during the year to date that it’s impossible to listen to all of it. In black metal I took a long time to select the 15 best albums I’ve heard this year, then narrow that down to the five I like the most up to now.

Those who know me won’t expect my top picks to be old-school, aggressive, scrotum-busting tirades of fury and deafening thunder. Because my taste is influenced by my love of prog rock and other non-metal, I tend to prefer the melodic, symphonic, progressive or atmospheric forms of the various metal genres. As for my taste in black metal… hey, blame Dimmu Borgir.

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Mammal’s most recommended new albums: Art rock, post rock & math rock


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As I said in the first part of this series, so much great music has been arriving at Metal State this year that it’s impossible to review everything. Yet it would a crime, not merely an omission, if we failed to bring the best of different types of music to your attention. Therefore, here’s another selection of superb bands with new or recent albums that deserve all the attention they can receive.

This episode covers some of the slightly more obscure sub-genres of progressive rock. It’s one of those occasions when I wear my Other Music cap. If you don’t already know, I ostensibly came on board Metal State to review and write about non-metal bands as well as the numerous flavours of metal that tickle my fancy and other parts. We will gloss over the real truth, which is that the Metal State team invited me to join them because I am irresistibly cute and charming, like a favourite garden gnome.

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Mammal’s most recommended new albums: Assorted genres


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Metal State often receives ten invitations a day to review new albums. In physical terms, it would be impossible for a whole battalion of writers to do full reviews of so much new music. In practical terms, we don’t want to overwhelm our readers with so many posts that few would have or make the time to read them all. How then to do some justice to the many outstandingly good submissions we take in each day?

One way to help the best bands reach a wider audience is to compile digests of new albums, and that’s what I’m starting to do here. The graphic shows what type of ground I’ll be covering in the next few weeks, months and the rest of my life. After that, I’ll do mixed digests of different flavours of metal and other music as soon as possible after it arrives at our dungeon. For now, I’ve sorted my best albums received so far this year into main categories. You can see them in the graphic on the left. I’ll tick off each category as I add posts.

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