Tabarnak c’est qui Godless??? C’est un des excellents animateurs du MetalSucks Podcast. Il a bien voulu partager son Best of 2014 (so far) avec les fans de Boulevard Brutal. C’est pas mal sharp de sa part. Peut-être le début d’une belle collaboration. J’espère que vous savez lire l’anglais?? Anyway, voilà son stock!
Much like the best metal album of the year so far, the year itself has been off to a slow start but it’s growing on me and may yet be as comparable to the potential peak of 2013. No one has broken down new walls yet but these albums are doing damage, and certainly pushing them out.
Fuck you. Right from the top, fuck you. I’m going to judge this entire album on one track, the absolutely brilliant Order of Dracul. This is the greatest incorporation of death metal and strings I’ve heard yet. In addition, Septicflesh were the biggest surprise on last January’s 70,000 Tons of Metal cruise. Death metal isn’t dead, it just doesn’t incorporate full fucking orchestras as creatively as Septicflesh have on Order of Dracul.
I have a soft spot for international death metal, and Italy’s Hour of Penance are the latest addition to the brutally awesome ‘It’s a Small Death Metal World’ ride. Six albums in but with so many lineup changes it’s hard to call them anything but ‘newish’, Hour of Penance don’t actually do anything new but all they do all the old stuff well. And Redeemer of Atrocity is one of my favorite metal songs of the year. “Open up the gates!”
Shadowed by Vultures is a frustrating listen, honestly. ‘Blood Lines’ and ‘Mountain Throne’ mix Clutch-like hooks with blitzkrieg death metal with great results while ‘Glass Cutter’ and ‘Before the Storm’ feel like a band too concerned they’ll distance themselves from their audience to truly commit to what is great about those songs. Meanwhile, Polar continue their thematic lyricism of water and drowning but seem hesitant to commit to the theme completely. There’s an inspired visionary in this band. Just wait until he’s unleashed. Stream Shadowed by Vultures here.
First, Arch Enemy performed the world’s most seamless member change in history. Timed with the announcement of the album’s release, vocalist Angela Gossow was replaced with the best person for the job, Allissa White-Gluz, formerly of The Agonist. Fuck you, I’ve only heard four songs so far, but War Eternal already promises 50+ minutes of Michael Amott’s brilliant old-school metal melodies married to the death metal sound we’ve come to expect from Arch Enemy. Plus, White-Gluz’s voice is a great fit.
Paul Masvidal and Sean Reinert’s Cynic have had a unique career in metal, to say the least. Focus, from 1993, was released by Roadrunner to little acclaim. But for a small, devoted audience it seemed to be largely forgotten. But since it’s 2008 re-debut, Traced in Air, the band has been evolving their sci fi-prog slowly away from metal and into something completely their own. Kindly Bent to Free Us doesn’t have standout songs like ‘Evolutionary Sleeper’ or ‘Carbon-Based Anatomy’ but does sound like a band with full self-confidence and the results of a two-decade long search for its place in music. Awesome. Listen Metalsucks podcast #35 with Paul Masvidal here.
Speaking of inspired visionaries, Atlas Moth’s Stavros Giannopoulos fronts this unique five-piece from Chicago. An Ache for the Distance was a landmark for metal, but one many didn’t come across. The Old Believer picks up where Distance left off but promises to be as influential as it is stunning and fully-realized. Awesome from beginning to end, songs like ‘Collider’ and ‘Sacred Vine’ exemplify the band’s blend of dual-vocals, triple-guitars, gentle hooks, and swaying time signatures with an overall dark, hallucinogenic mood. Listen Metalsucks podcast #50 with Stavros Giannopoulos here.
Cynic side-dude and Chuck Schuldiner stand-in Max Phelps leads this proggiest of prog-death outfits on their first full-length, Sunlight. While no riff circles perfectly on itself nor any rhythm takes a direct journey from one to four, songs like ‘So We Are’ and ‘Self-Inflicted Disguise’ are still focused and deliberate and endlessly listenable within the intricacy. I keep returning to Sunlight and keep finding new things to love about it, the best compliment available to bands steeped in prog. Buy this album and pay what you want for it. You won’t regret it.
Grim Kim recommended this album on her Twitter feed months ago and I’m not the only one who applauded the recommendation. Southern Lord picked the band up and it might be their most inspired signing in years. The Living Ever Mourn is one of the darkest albums in recent memory, like it was recorded in Peter Steele’s casket. If there is a dirge-metal subgenre, Nightfell are it, with an ugly guitar sound ala Pungent Stench and death vocals soaked in reverb and echo. Songs crawl, riffs churn, and an oppressive and depressing atmosphere is perfectly realized. I love it.
This is absolutely the hookiest metal album of the year so far, and deserving of its successful sales so far. The kids have spoken, and they are right. This is an undeniable album – if you don’t like it, you’re holding too tightly to the past, schmuck. ‘The Saw is the Law’ is the closest thing to a metal anthem in a decade and the title track is Metallica’s ‘And Justice for All’s child, come to beat it to shit and run off with the hot mother-in-law. And singer Phil Bozeman has the most fucked-up childhood I’ve ever heard. Listen Metalsucks podcast #41 with Phil Bozeman here. Give him his props before the dude snaps.
Nearly twenty years into a career, a band should be clinging to relevancy, not releasing the best and most important and innovative music of their career. Enslaved did it with RIITIIR two years ago, Carcass did it last year, and Insomnium lay their claim in 2014. This is a slow-burner of an album that has slowly made its way up my list of recent favorites. First, Ephemeral is the best metal song of the year and kept bringing me back. But Shadows of the Sun demands repeated listening – epic, gorgeous, and mature, Insomnium have a full album’s worth of metal that is everything that makes the genre great.