July was a plentiful month for releases with Fates Warning, Centinex, Periphery, Black Crown Initiate, and Revocation leading the charge; at least concerning the albums I was able to get a hold of and take the time to listen to. Here is a quick rundown…
Fates Warning – Theories of Flight / Progressive Metal – Released on 1 July 2016 by InsideOutMusic
For fans of the earlier days of Fates Warning, this should be right up your alley. It’s tight, progressive, melodic, and heavy. It’s a solid Fates Warning album; probably one you’ve been wishing for, for a long time. 4 out of 5 Read the rest of this entry →
This 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 →
Posted in Best of 2014
Tags: Animals As Leaders, Behemoth, Best Metal of 2014, Black Crown Initiate, Blood & Banjos, Bloodbath, Bloodstone & Diamonds, Centinex, Deathless, Fallujah, Ghost Brigade, Grand Morbid Funeral, Insomnium, IV One With the Storm, Machine Head, Mastodon, Once More 'Round The Sun, Revocation, scar symmetry, SepticFlesh, Shadows of the Dying Sun, The Flesh Prevails, The Satanist, The Wreckage of Stars, Titan
It’s that time of year again for arbitrary lists of really great albums that were released since the last time I did one of these things. Contributing to my absolute burnout of writing about kick ass metal bands, I can not think of another year where there were just so damn many stellar records released. I simply had to say fuck it, step back, and enjoy the great stuff I already had. Sure, I missed out on some great stuff, but on the other hand, all killer no filler. To try to make up for the insane amount of great albums this year I’ve expanded my usual 10 to 15 and will have an honorable mentions post sometime in the near future. I hope you find yourself something cool to listen to with this list or at least nod in agreement with some of my picks. Thanks for reading, sticking with AMSOM, and being awesome and stuff. Enjoy!!! Peace Love and Metal!!!
Label: Metal Blade
Release Date: 10 Oct 2014 (US)
Length: 53 Minutes
Previous Albums: Empire of the Obscene (2008); Existence is Futile (2009); Chaos of Forms (2011); Revocation (2013); Deathless (2014).
Location: Boston, MA USA Read the rest of this entry →
Really, NEW FUCKING REVOCATION!!!!! Need I say more?
Given last year’s self-titled record made my #1 Album of 2013, it’s pretty obvious I’m hyped for their release landing October 14th, 2014. This track just heightens the hype. Enjoy!!! And for you eager ones, you can pre-order the album Deathless here. Peace Love and Metal!!!
I love the power of a good instrumental song. Sometimes they can be energizing or even relaxing depending on the band’s intent with the song. Some bands use an instrumental song to display a different, sometimes softer side. And, sometimes an instrumental is a collection of left over riffs and drum parts that didn’t make the final cut. Or, perhaps they just couldn’t find the words to go with the music. However they are composed, the instrumental song is a track I look for and hope to find on any album; though there are some bands where it’s almost an expectation. This list is comprised of 25 word-less songs that I find essential to my music library. I wouldn’t sweat over the exact order, but yeah the ones at or near the top of this list are definitely my favorites. I know there are many more instrumental songs out there, but these are mine…so to speak. This list is also limited to only three per band and only one band made this list three times. Enjoy!
18. Spastic – Revocation
This is probably one of the newest songs on my countdown of favorite instrumental songs. This is another one that is loaded with cool guitar rhythm and lead and speed. It is also very much a Revocation song complete with all their technical progressiveness just a lack of vocals. This one appears on their self-titled 2013 release. This play through video of the band is pretty bad ass too.
17. Orion – Metallica
Other than Leper Messiah which launched me into thrash metal way back in the day, Orion was the other stand out song for me on this pivotal Master of Puppets album. Again, guitars are quite prominent in this one, including bass, but I also like the rhythm and smooth tempo. I felt I was able to lose my 13 or 14 year old self in this song. This is the last of the Metallica instrumental songs on my list. I have seen Metallica five times and I do not recall ever seeing this song played live. Bummer!
2013 was an odd year for me. While there were countless amounts of outstanding releases, I found myself extremely burned out with heavy metal overload. That’s not to say I even for a moment slowed down on my heavy metal listening in the slightest, but found myself with lots of difficulty getting into something new unless it was something extra special. Something beyond just a solid death metal/black metal/post metal/doom metal/etc metal album. It had to be absolutely extraordinary to pull me away from my current need of delving back into the thousands of albums already in my collection.
However, within my current disregard throughout the year for actively seeking out the new or checking out new albums from established artists I’m already a fan of I still did find a good amount of time to embrace the new. There were many great releases this year and I gave a listen a lot of them. On the contrary, many albums you would think would objectively be on my list you may not find here (honorable mention post coming in the very near future), as naturally, a top ten list is very subjective and the following albums are the records that really shone through despite my bout of new music burnout and got lot of playtime in between obsessive bouts of the classics. In fact, every record here I would consider a modern classic and recommend taking some time to check it out. So, without further ado, here’s my favorite releases of 2013.
Initially, I was going to limit my best of 2013 list to just my top 10. My reasoning was to make my list as tight as I could only highlighting the very best of what moved me during the year. After looking back at how many albums I listened to or was exposed to, that number hovered around 270 albums. So, I decided to expand my list to the same standard as previous years. Despite increasing my list to 15, it still only highlights about 5% of all the albums that graced my ear drums this year. So, what I present to you for the year 2013 my top 15, plus five more honorable mentions that will be posted in the vicinity of this list.
Tags: Alternative, amon amarth, Biffy Clyro, carcass, Clutch, Death Angel, Death Metal, Deceiver of the Gods, Earth Rocker, Exhumed, Ghost, Havok, Helloween, Intestissumam, Jungle Rot, metal, Necrocrasy, Opposites, Pelagial, Queensryche, Revocation, Rock, Self Titled, Sleepers Awake, Soilwork, Straight out of Hell, Surgical Steel, Terror Regime, The Dream Calls for Blood, the living infinite, The Ocean, Thrash, Top 15 of 2013, Transcension, Unnatural Selection
Simple enough, here are my picks for my favorite music videos of 2013. Enjoy and share your picks! Peace Love and Metal!!!
#5: Intronaut – Harmonomicon
Trippy and great camera shots. Simply beautiful cinematography. Great song as well.
#4: Revocation – Fracked
Beyond how kick ass the song is I really enjoyed the collage of anti-fracking images, video clips, and animations which really worked well for creating an anti-establishment metal video. Good on Revocation for bringing this travesty being done to our planet for oil to a wider audience.
#3: Maximum the Hormone – え・い・り・あ・ん (A.L.I.E.N.)
This video perfectly captures the sheer insanity of Maximum the Hormone. I love how they start with the standard ‘band in a basement’ cliché’ and then turn it on its head. I’m especially fond of the cool effects when the ‘funk’ part kicks in. If you’ve never experienced MtH before, be prepared for a faceful of WTF.
#2: Haken – Cockroach King
I f’n love The Muppets. So, when I caught wind of a video for a prog metal band heavily inspired by Jim Henson’s legacy I was quick to check it out. Little did I know just how perfect the Muppets by way of Bohemian Rhapsody would make for such a perfect music video that fits the song better than a pair of tailored Levis. Favorite scene, when the Muppet spits out the insects, made me lol so hard.
#1: Toxic Holocaust – Acid Fuzz
Perfection. This is possibly the most metal music video ever. The video for Acid Fuzz should be the blueprint on how to make metal videos. Colors, animation, metal, decapitation, sharks ripping people in two, drugs, hallucinations, explosions, boobs, skulls, demonic conjuring, and the list goes on and on. Just watch this masterpiece of a video.
It’s been a very long time since I had the opportunity to catch Death Angel in the splendor of a live setting. If my memory serves me, it was August 19, 1990. Seven of us piled into some type of small white hatchback never meant for seven people and made our way an hour down the road to Boston, MA to this little dive called The Channel. I am not sure if this place it still exists and there was nothing particularly exciting about the joint other than Death Angel was playing there. They were in support of their Act III album and in tow were Forbidden along with two local bands called Cardinal Sin and Candy Striper Death Orgy…the latter was as entertaining as their name, I promise you that. I believe this may have been the place where I got my first taste of the pit…because, well there wasn’t anywhere else to go; the entire place was a pit. I also bought my favorite concert tee from that show and had that thing until it fell apart 10 years later. The only things that remain from that evening are fond memories and a ticket stub which was hand-written from a local music store called Strawberries Records and Tapes. Yeah, they are out of business now. All in all, it was highly memorable for many reasons. So, to see them again after more than two decades was highly anticipated to say the least. To make the evening even better were some quality opening acts; 3 Inches of Blood, Battlecross, Revocation, Diamond Plate, and local band Artemesis. Here is my story.