10. Manilla Road – Mysterium :
In today’s world, how often do you see bands, resurrecting from way back in 1977, when a band’s name would be chosen over a few drinks while watching Monty Python’s Flying Circus? Well although this Epic Heavy/Power Metal act has gone through several line-up changes, Mark Shelton remains the constant member throughout. They have come out with Mysterium this year, and have mysteriously done pretty damn awesome! Right from the guitar work, that lets out the profuse sparks of a legend, a master at work, teases your ear drums right from the slow, heavy riffs, to the binding solos and crunching melodies. The drum patterns are pretty catchy, and the bass lines are noodled up quite intelligently. The vocals obviously complement that of a roadie’s attitude, thanks to the ‘biker’ lyrics. It is a fun, yet well made album musically. Manilla Road stands at number ten on my list, go ahead and give this one a shot.
9. Gorguts – Colored Sands :
The word repetition, doesn’t seem to appear in this band’s dictionary. Often hooked onto, as the leading technical death metal bands that the metal world has ever seen, this band has been rocking it since 1989. Colored Sands, links up the older Gorguts, to the newer one brilliantly, maintaining the band’s commendable consistency. This album is a complete package of rancid, thick and solid death metal, mixed with quirky, absurd, technical death metal that tingles your ears and kills you with its complexity. It’s amazing how Lemay’s sheer mastery and control over his technicality and vocals still echo through the walls of death metal as loud as it can, and he males sure, for as long. Gorguts stands at number nine on my list, go ahead and give this one a shot.
8. Battlecross – War of Will :
For a band being able to blend thrash, melodic death, and death metal into one crazy, rabid track, with just the right pinch of every ingredient in it, is quite a job. The album and the band, as their respective names suggest, makes you want to gear up in an Armour with a sword and a shield in either hand and unleash hell on the battlefield. For real. The energy that this band produces is one of the most, if not the most intense ever. I can only imagine how mad and insane their mosh pits would be live. Entertainment set aside, the album War of Will boasts of a potpourri of fast paced, rising guitar riffs, insane double kicks, the bass being slapped as hard as one could, and some rapid solos to top it all off. Extracting the metalcore out of their sound, they produce a new face of thrash metal that is very much needed, taking into account the innumerable generic spinoffs, and mash-ups coming out nowadays. A special shout out to the band for the INCREDIBLY CRAZY cover of Fucking Hostile. Battlecross meet the epitome of energy and insanity. Pick up this album right away.
7. Ashes of Ares – Self titled :
It is Matt Barlow on the vocals. Well, that’s enough said, isn’t it? For the fans of Maiden, or obviously Iced Earth, this progressive power epic trio is a journey of joy. This project proves to be diverse and delivers, although it barely enters the realm of experimentation. This album brings back the metal where the vocals leave a remarkable seed in your brain. While the drumming and bass are neither much to talk about, the guitar melodies are catchy as hell, with the vocals being the main X-factor. Matt displays it all right from the soaring high melodies to the shrieks and shouts, harsh enough to suit thrash metal. A great comeback in a different way.
6. Deafhaven – Sunbather :
The rising craze of post rock/metal/shoe-gaze/black metal, gave rise to Blackgaze. And one can’t deny that when done right, it is a profound atmospheric, and spiritual trip to the farther end of the world, the ices. Bordering a post rock structure, the band fuses heavy riffage and scream vocals. With a blissful, pleasant atmospheric sound, the transition in the long, laid out stunning melodies keeps you hooked on till the end. The vocals are pretty damn emotive, and this album can take any open minded listener to a a different world.
5. Red Fang – Whales and Leeches :
Stoner metal at its best. When I first got into stoner/doom/sludge metal, I thought Stoned Jesus was the epitome. Then, I spread out my tingling spidey senses and found a few other gems. One of them, being Red Fang. A band that sings about life, and mankind today, it’s not only the lyrics that impressed me, but the great, yet respectful reminiscent of Black Sabbath. The catch with this band is the sound they possess so unique, that it can reach out to a wide fan base, right from grunge, punk rock, to heavy metal. They carve their way through with heavy, fuzzy, thick guitar riffs with the typical stoner metal vocals that reverberate in your head. The band manages to stay sludgy, whilst playing fast paced music. The few, but valuable guitar solos are a treat to the ears too. This release is one of those that have to be heard by more metal fans out there.
4. Portal – Vexovoid :
These Australian experimental death metal heavyweights will kindle your brain with the most suspenseful and creepiest music you’ll hear. Atmospheres that lets The Curator’s spiteful, torturous vocals creep in, as he gurgles through his way, heavy and low. The album’s general approach is like a monster crawling towards you and just circling around. It never really kills you, but the taunting and teasing does half the job. The rise in tempo drum patterns along with the creeping tremolo picking riffs just makes the music feel like a psychological thriller. Are these guys the David Fincher of death metal? Maybe.
3. Dream Theater – Dream Theater :
Much cannot be said about this band overflowing with virtuosos, and progressive wizardry. From being closest to what I can rate as my favorite band, Dream Theater has pretty much touched almost every aspect of music in general. Their self titled release is what can be viewed as a collection of the different phases of their music career, covering every corner of the band’s style. A near to perfect album this one, also has a mammoth track, ‘The Illumination Theory’ to watch out for. The album sprouts up with unanimous efforts throughout and a brilliant show of mastery over their style.
2. SubRosa – More Constant than the Gods :
This record is a brilliant display of beauty throughout. A unique blend of doom, sludge, stoner and folk metal has to be widely recognized, but sadly isn’t. There are many out there that despise the lack of feeling and emotion in a metal album. This, will prove them wrong. Easily one of the most moving albums I’ve heard in a while, with weeping violins incessantly caressing your mind into a bed of roses. This album perfectly portrays the overall human emotion. It is like a voyage of a man through the endeavors of life. The atmospheric feel, and the variation of the sound the violins make complements the poetic lyrics perfectly. A must listen, a new and great find.
1. The Ocean – Pelagial :
Just, wow. This album sounds like a compilation of different bands playing progressive music. Their style stretches out to polarizing sub-genres of metal like, Progressive, Sludge, Atmospheric, Post Metal, and Hardcore. Whilst being complex musically, the band also shows commendable emotional depth in this record. The continuous, one song feature does not bring about boredom as the transitions and variation in each track is subtle, gentle, yet noticeable. If I may pull a pun out of what I’m about to say, The Ocean basically shows how diverse, beautiful, flawless, magnificent and grand and album can be made to sound in the realm of metal. You as a listener, are in for a treat and oh my, I wonder if you are ready for it yet. This is music that will echo through the years without aging even a bit. Evergreen is the right word, I suppose.