Going back to this old thread, I just thought of a New Year's resolution for 2022 and that is to level up my metalcore zone farther than before. First of all, assembling the Revolution playlists has caused incredible results for me; you all get to hear more of my metalcore palette with songs from bands I already listen to, along with songs from bands I've barely or never listened to before thereby conjuring new discoveries. I'm determined to find and listen to more of the bands whose songs I've randomly chosen strike me with perfection, and it's a quest that might take a few months (would be faster but there are tight limits such as outside-world plans) but it shall be done. Of course, I would also be catching up with upcoming releases from longtime habitants of my metalcore arsenal. Can bands like All That Remains and We Came as Romans really do their next albums justice despite each having a fallen founding member? Will the next albums by Bleeding Through and Motionless in White maintain their dark metalcore name? And will ex-metalcore bands Bring Me the Horizon and Underoath pleasantly surprise us by going back to their earlier heavier sound in their next releases (the only new single from the upcoming Underoath album Voyeurist I've heard so far is "Cycle" with Ghostemane, and that one sounds heavy and promising)? I have no idea, but I pray for the best of luck for those bands to maintain their triumph. And don't worry, my passion for my other clans will still be around, so no changes too drastic for my taste. So yeah, my tasks for the new year: More monthly playlists, more featured releases, more bands, and more new albums, all for The Revolution. 2022 shall be my year for metalcore!!
After revisiting Canadian war metal godfathers Blasphemy's infamous 1989 demo tape "Blood Upon The Altar" a few weeks ago & quite enjoying it, I thought I'd branch a little further out by investigating their seminal debut album "Fallen Angel Of Doom...." as well to see if it'd grown on me of the years. I recall struggling to see what all the hype was about back in the day & after giving it a few spins over the last couple of days I have to admit that I still do. "Fallen Angel Of Doom...." is loosely written, sloppily performed & is presented within the context of one of the worst production jobs the world has ever seen but you can certainly hear the potential that it offered. Blasphemy managed to combine all four of the major extreme metal sounds of the time (i.e. death metal, black metal, thrash metal & grindcore) into one swarming mass of largely indecipherable noise with this release but I certainly find myself wanting to like it more than I actually do if I'm being completely honest. The drums & vocals are mixed absolutely miles higher than the bass & rhythm guitars which are almost completely lost on most tracks &, as a guitarist myself, I find this to be a little bit offensive. There's a noticeable variation in sound between the various tracks too with some possessing more high end & reminding me of a bunch of aluminium trash cans being rolled down a steep hill simultaneously while others seeing the guitars peeking through a little more which provides an obvious improvement to my listening experience. The insane guitar solos are a real highlight though as they're almost invariably placed over the most intense sections & create psychotic blankets of excitement over the most over-the-top of musical sequences. There are a few tracks that see Blasphemy managing to overcome the rubbish production job (see "Hoarding of Evil Vengeance", "Desecration" & album highlight "Demoniac") but these are simply not enough to create much value in repeat listens for me & overall I still find "Fallen Angel Of Doom...." to be more interesting than it is enjoyable to tell you the truth. I greatly prefer the "Blood Upon The Altar" demo which included a few of the same songs only with a vastly superior production job.
For fans of Archgoat, Proclamation & Black Witchery.
1978: Riot - Rock City (yes I know, everyone says the year is 1977, but I don't quite suspect that as its true release year, more info about that in this separate thread reply: https://metal.academy/forum/28/thread/362#topic_6048)
1979: Riot - Narita
1980: Accept - I'm a Rebel
1981: Accept - Breaker
1982: Virgin Steele - Virgin Steele
1983: Savatage - Sirens
1984: Queensryche - The Warning
1985: Fates Warning - The Spectre Within
1986: Crimson Glory - Crimson Glory
1987: Savatage - Hall of the Mountain King
1988: Riot - Thundersteel
1989: Running Wild - Death or Glory
1990: Demolition Hammer - Tortured Existence
1991: Dark Angel - Time Does Not Heal
1992: Sadus - A Vision of Misery
The golden classics (1993-2002):
1993: X Japan - Art of Life
1994: Savatage - Handful of Rain
1995: Savatage - Dead Winter Dead
1996: Samael - Passage
1997: Bruce Dickinson - Accident of Birth
1998: Meshuggah - Chaosphere
1999: Botch - We are the Romans
2000: Skycamefalling - 10.21
2001: Green Carnation - Light of Day, Day of Darkness
2002: Arcturus - The Sham Mirrors
The silver guiding lights (2003-2012):
2003: The Lord Weird Slough Feg - Traveller
2004: Disillusion - Back to Times of Splendor
2005: Trivium - Ascendancy
2006: Queensryche - Operation Mindcrime II
2007: Annihilator - Metal
2008: Dir En Grey - Uroboros
2009: Animals as Leaders - Animals as Leaders
2010: Virgin Steele - The Black Light Bacchanalia
2011: Trivium - In Waves
2012: Devin Townsend - Epicloud
The bronze yet still great new (2013-2019):
2013: We Came as Romans - Tracing Back Roots
2014: Ne Obliviscaris - Citadel
2015: Bullet for My Valentine - Venom
2016: Vektor - Terminal Redux
2017: Trivium - The Sin and the Sentence
2018: Voivod - The Wake
2019: Devin Townsend - Empath
The newest to make up for the worst of the world (2020-present):
2020: Trivium - What the Dead Men Say
2021 (so far): Trivium - In the Court of the Dragon
2021 albums I'm looking forward to getting:
Bad Wolves - Dear Monsters (slight return to listening to that band for this album)
Mastodon - Hushed and Grim
Running Wild - Blood on Blood
Bullet for My Valentine - Bullet for My Valentine
Silent Planet - Iridescent (self-recommendation)
Converge and Chelsea Wolfe - Bloodmoon: I
Cynic - Ascension Codes (slight return to listening to that band for this album)
In Mourning - The Bleeding Veil (slight return to listening to that band for this album)
Rhapsody of Fire - Glory for Salvation (slight return to listening to that band for this album)
I have an opinion that's a little similar to Daniel's in a recent Twitter post but with a different band; I believe Accept made their true comeback to perfection with the albums The Rise of Chaos and Too Mean to Die despite founding bassist Peter Baltes leaving the band sometime between those two albums. Their two best since their 1982-1985 trilogy!
I think it's been a pretty good year for black metal. To prove it I've put together a playlist on Spotify of tracks from my top twenty albums (actually that's not strictly true as Pan-Amerikan Native Front aren't on Spotify and so Little Turtle's War couldn't be included).
First of all, I had to look up what the hell Incel meant in the first place.
Secondly, from my experience of moderating over at Metal Forum I get really pissed off with the "this is shit for no valid or substantiated reason" scenario whenever it crops up. The arrogance of other people never ceases to amaze me and this is why I don't frequent FB or Twitter in all honesty, it has encouraged a culture of explanation in a limited number of characters because of count restrictions or the knowledge by the poster that if they don't say something quick nobody will read it.
I agree that MA offers that safe-haven from such nonsense and I think that the comments section is just perfectly hidden away t discourage some of the negative behaviours we have all experienced on the internet at large. What it also manages to conversely is open up the minds of the regulars to new genres, styles, bands etc so is a rewarding place for those that value it enough to stick around. Those that choose to troll elsewhere are the ones missing out on the real opportunity to grow their palate.
So Phyllomedusa aren't the only frog-loving metalheads out there. They have some competition from a one-man, toad-licking stoner from Bristol in England known only as Froglord. His debut EP, The Froglord Cometh, was released in May of 2020, quickly followed by a full-length entitled Amphibian Ascending, released in November on Oakland's The Swamp Records.
Another EP followed in February of 2021, this one entitled Save the Frogs, it actually has a serious ecological message with tracks like Ecocide and Take Action and, of course, Save The Frogs with it's thought-provoking lyrics
"So we stand on the razors edge, here at the brink of collapse, Balancing upon the precipice, let not your judgment lapse. 200 species have all gone extinct, In the last 40 years, lost before you even blinked.
We should consider that frogs are indicators of, The health of the ecosystem, the land they dwell upon. So much more than a conservation tool, but also integral too, A way of life and survival, without them we shall fall.
Now here in July, Froglord has unleashed his second full-length, The Mystic Toad. It's not as serious lyrically as Save the Frogs, being a concept album telling the story of an invasion by an alien race who launch their attack by trying to burn The Amazon forest. The Amazon however, is where The Froglord lives and he fights back by summoning the Lovecraftian Ancient One's from across The Void to defeat the invaders. Finally he retakes his place on his throne and warns the Human Race that they too must take heed of his powers and leave his home free or perish. The Mystic Toad is a groovy, sludgy hunk of stomping stoner metal that is not merely a gimmick release. Sure it has some fun samples and doesn't take itself too seriously as far as subject matter goes, but this is still a solid chunk of metal that should appeal to the less poe-faced metalhead looking for something fun to listen to.
Firstly, I'd like to put forwards a fairly unpopular opinion in that I think Cliff was always the influence that saw Metallica pushing outside of the thrash metal spectrum so I don't see any reason why he would have kept them from experimenting. On the contrary, I think he would likely have helped in the expansion process & seen them achieving it much more successfully given his unquestionable taste.
Secondly, I think that the commercial success that Metallica experienced with "The Black Album" saw James & Lars losing their identity. They lost their focus & got caught up between their own artistic wants & needs & the pressure to match their past successes. Substance abuse certainly didn't help either. "The Black Album" was the perfect example of a band getting that balance right & I think the only reason that this was possible was because the band had both a point to prove & a genuine hunger for success. Once they achieved that success I think they suffered from a lack of any real understanding of what the next step was. They'd already achieved everything from a commercial point of view & (despite what the underground extreme metal scene may think) the world were telling them that they had creatively too. The "Load" & "Reload" fiascos were the direct result of this &, although I genuinely hate those records, at least they were pushing into new territory with the band being their own masters.
"St. Anger" is very much the opposite of this as it sees Metallica consciously trying to appease the metal fans they'd lost with their previous couple of releases but at the same time attempting to conform to the current market tastes by heading in a more alternative metal style & dropping the guitar solos altogether. Such an obvious showcase of a band that's given up the ghost & are trying to copy the bands that they'd influenced is the ultimate sell-out in my opinion. But then, in trying to make up for that mistake by consciously (& poorly) plagiarizing their past glories with "Death Magnetic", Metallica showed a vulnerability & a weakness that only further compounded the issue & provided further proof that the band had completely lost touch with both their fanbase & reality. "Hardwired...to Self-Destruct" was probably the band's best record since "The Black Album" but it was so bloated, over-produced & self-indulgent that it did nothing to pull the band out of their creative hole, particularly given that the best material was once again centered around self-plagiarism. At least the band tried something different with "Lulu". As bad as it was, they certainly showed that they didn't give a fuck what anyone thought with that release.
Gojira's Magma has the worst artwork from the band, but it's not as terrible as almost everything else in the page. All this one has is a black volcano with the Teletubbies Sun Baby on it, puffing up smoke over a field of white hills.
Since there's already a Panopticon thread here, I've been digging into ...And Again Into the Light all this week and really enjoying it, but there's one thing that I'm just not getting about the album even after multiple listens. It feels like the folk element completely leaves during the back half of "Rope Burn Exit" and for the entirety of "A Snowless Winter" plus "Moth Eaten Soul" and awkwardly comes back in full force in "As Golden Laughter Echoes" only to be replaced by Post-Metal for the final two songs. Maybe because I enjoy the atmosphere and style of the opening track into "Dead Loons" so much that having the album progress away from that feels out of place, even though the progression makes sense? Pretty torn on it, still one of the best albums of the year but I feel like I'm missing something.
Kensuke Ushio - "Ping Pong" The Animation Soundtrack (2014) 2 x CD bonus disc edition
Over two hours of music taken from a Japanese animated television show. It spans a huge wealth of electronic subgenres including techno, trance, progressive house, drum 'n' bass, IDM, downtempo, ambient, etc. There are a few really great tracks included, particularly the techno & ambient material which is most closely aligned to my taste however there's simply far too much filler here & I find the cheesy trance & quirky IDM stuff to be pretty hard going.
OK, one more track from me then that's it for now. If there's one thing anyone who has listened to Devin Townsend doesn't know, unless they're a super-fan who has built up their collection into completion, well here it is: Before his solo debut progressive metal masterpiece Ocean Machine - Biomech, Devin Townsend made up a fictional punk rock band named Punky Bruster and hired a drummer and bassist to bring this story to life in an album titled Cooked on Phonics. The album was later re-issued with the two names combined as Punky Bruster - Cooked on Phonics as a Devin Townsend album, thereby technically being his first solo album! In the story, they started as a death metal band from Poland named Cryptic Coroner, but when disaster strikes at a pub they were performing in, in a hurry they improvised by transforming into the punk band Punky Bruster. The concert became an enormous commercial success and so did their punk music. I would tell you more, but I don't wanna spoil a lot for anyone who hasn't heard it yet, so here's a good song from that album that shows the beginning of the story like I just told you about. Consider this introduction and punk-rocker your sneak peek:
Now I'm gonna answer some not-yet-asked questions in advance here. Q: Do you really think this is one or one of a few songs you like from an album you think is a poor one? A: As a matter of fact, it is, along with "Metal Dilemma". The album itself I would give 2.5 stars because for the music, I'm a metalhead who prefers to listen to anything metal (but not too extreme or mainstream), and if I want something punk, or at least hardcore punk, I have metalcore. For the lyrics, yes they are ridiculously cheesy and comedic for the most part (don't get me started on the toilet humor in the song that has the last 4 letters of the 7th planet in the Solar System in the title), but the concept seems relatable to any band who starts extreme then sells out with a lighter melodic sound thinking they might regret it but the change really pays off, though the success depicted here seems exaggerated compared to most rock bands in the world. It also seems relatable for my own "metal dilemma" right now, but we'll get to that soon. Bonus points!
Q: Isn't this a non-metal album? A: Yes, but it's from a metal artist.
Q: What made you think of this album all of a sudden? A: Well remember that I'm currently planning my departure from death metal forever? Yeah, that reminded me of this album's concept, but instead of turning from death metal to punk in just one concert, I'm currently in the midst of a month-long plan to remove any trace of death metal from my current metal interest so it can be less brutal and more melodic without losing my metal, this whole plan being orchestrated just from the safety of my home. So yeah, that's one part of my personal connection to this concept. The other part is the name, Cryptic Coroner. That reminds me of a real band, Coroner! Sure that band Coroner is from Switzerland (not Poland, but they're both part of Central Europe) and they're tech-thrash instead of death metal, but with their split-up being near the same time as the release of the Punky Bruster album, I started formulating a theory about the end of Coroner's original run (hey don't criticize me, I'll be writing just a theory). And with those two parts of my personal connection, I feel the need to share them to this site, so I'm gonna write a long review for this album based on the release itself, the concept, and my personal connections, and since the album isn't on the site because it's not metal, it would be a separate thread. The review shall be ready to go around early May, so stay tuned...
I've rated that album when I was listening to it as part of DIS vs DAT related challenge, and it looks OK. When I was checking the chart for The Sphere, I'm still quite amazed by how unpopular that clan is. 155 releases with at least one rating, 20 releases with at least 5 ratings, and only two releases with 10 ratings (Ministry's Psalm 69 and Godflesh's Streetcleaner)! However, one release in the chart bothers me for being in that clan, and that is Voivod's Phobos! More info about that in this thread: https://metal.academy/forum/28/thread/589
I'll still be relistening to a bunch of 2020 stuff trying to nail down a list I feel happy with. It's getting really close, so I'll probably end out 2020 with some pop and rap albums that had a lot of buzz in 2020, just to fill out the year. There might be one or two metal albums from the random lists I've been seeing pop up that I might check out, and maybe try and write reviews for Neptunian Maximalism, that Spectral Lore / Mare Cognitum collab, Oranssi Pazuzu and Imperial Triumphant? Those are some difficult albums to review though, so I'll have to see how I feel about it.
I also want to catch up with the Feature Releases again, try to make it more of a habit in 2021. Work has been escalating so I've found myself being forgetful about grabbing new music for the day, since my workplace blocks Spotify for some reason. No, I don't work in a prison, even though some of the stuff they do around here makes it seem like it. Looking back, I had a very productive 2020 music-wise and the Academy has definitely been a cornerstone for that.
There's very little doubt that I enjoy the danger in metal & I love the fact that I listen to a style of music that most people find too extreme. The more extreme it becomes, the more I want to like it. It just gives me a rush as I'm generally a happy, calm & relaxed kind of person & the aggression & darkness makes me feel empowered. I also despise things like religion & injustice & metal's fight against those things is an added attraction. As much as I love other styles of music, I can't get enough of music that gives me the experience of a genuinely dark, cryptic or evil atmosphere. If you listen to my techno sets from the 2000's you'll find that my style was built around a similar base only with a significantly druggy element added for good measure.
Hi Ben, would it be feasible and do you think there would be any mileage in a comment box for each album, as they do on RYM? I ask because there are a huge number of releases without reviews and it would give those who perhaps don't particularly like, or want, to write lengthy reviews a chance to give some feedback on a release that may be unreviewed. It could also be another channel for discussion or debate without making a forum thread every time a different album presents itself for discussion. Just a thought.
All year I had a feeling that I was missing a lot of quality Doom albums, since the only ones that are currently towards the top of my list are Reflections and Stygian Bough. Such a shift for me since my 2019 list had quite a bit of Doom in it, so it was nice looking through this list to see what I didn't get around to. I may have to return to that MSW record, I saw you held it in very high regard and I did really enjoy it, but never went back to it. I'll definitely be checking on this through December to this to see if I want to fit any more listens in before the end of the year.
So, I went and got me a proper turntable and speakers set up and also a new PC to boot which means that as well as having a soundcard again that works I also have a vinyl player to play all the wonderful records I hear on Bandcamp again. I opted for Bluetooth on my speakers though so I can stream from my PC on one side of my lair and still connect up to the turntable easily and save space on my desk.
It's an expensive hobby vinyl collecting though and takes a lot of patience to balance the turntable perfectly as well as level the cartridge. So far though blasting my vinyl collection has made me smile muchly.
Ben, is there any possibility of being able to see all the forum posts from, say, the previous 24 hours with just a click? I seem to miss any number of posts because the Previous Posts lists only shows about ten. Something to consider for future updates.
While I'm no Sabbath expert... Tymell, based on the other lists in this thread, yours actually makes sense in the "top 10" order starting with the #1 song. Even an unordered list can come out as ordered!
Ha, you're right. I may have gone through the albums picking the 10 :p You can also see my album prefs pretty clearly there: I never really cared so much for Vol. 4 or Sabbath Bloody Sabbath (and I've never bothered listening to Never Say Die or Technical Ecstasy).
Whilst I find a lot of Depressive / Suicidal Black Metal to be self-absorbent and, frankly, amateurish, one of my recent favourites in the sub-genre is Déhà, the Belgian behind the bands Imber Luminis and Slow (amongst a shedload of others). He has released nine albums in 2020 so far, including three in his A fleur de peau series. These three albums are some of the best DSBM I've heard, Déhà having a gift for expressing the inner emotions of the psychologically troubled without sounding like a self-absorbed idiot. Despite his profusion of releases this year, the quality has not been compromised at all.With guest appearances from artists like Kim Carlsson of Hypothermia, Natalie Koskinen of Shape of Despair and Nils Courbaron from Sirenia Déhà is pushing the envelope as far as DSBM goes.
Update on my 2005 list, but with a different twist! I was inspired by Ben's "anniversary section" idea (15 years today) to update my list to the top 4 albums per clan.
And yes I know, I've included The Horde, not The Guardians. Since The Guardians has a huge array of power metal bands from my earlier epic metal taste, it would cause some unfair competition against my other clans in which most of them suit my current heavier modern era. Hence replacing The Guardians with my former clan The Horde! Anyway, here's my best of 2005 for each of those clans (plus I'm ranking the clans themselves):
In a similar vein to the clan challenges, how about a band name patch for any user who had reviewed all the (studio) albums from a particular band? Obviously only bands with a certain minimum number of releases would qualify, but there are plenty of metal bands who have released 10+ albums, so maybe that would be a good starting point and as these are generally the better known acts, Maiden, Sabbath, Priest, MDB, Darkthrone etc then most visitors to a site like MA should be more than familiar with them. The same could apply to metal labels like Nuclear Blast, Profound Lore or Avantgarde, say 25 or 30 reviews from a label would qualify the reviewer to a label patch.
Hi Ben, do you think it is possible that when you search by release it would be possible to list all releases in a clan with no ratings or reviews. I ask because one thing I do like on metal-archives is their "review albums with no reviews" challenge. Due to the newness of Metal Academy it has a large proportion of unrated and unreviewed albums, so maybe something along those lines could be introduced, otherwise there is a danger that the only albums with enough ratings to register on the charts will be those on the clan challenges. Personally I have decided to try to rate as many of the Fallen doom, sludge, stoner and drone releases as I can (I'll leave the gothic stuff to someone else!) It's just a thought...
I'll look into this one too. Hopefully not too hard.
Thanks for clearing that up Daniel. I had a feeling that it would be considered ok for the Academy (as I believe it should be). Just checking because, as you rightly say, some websites make completely arbitrary decisions on what constitutes being "metal enough" - a position particularly odd in the case of metal-archives as they claim to be an encyclopaedia of metal music yet dismiss many valid artists out of hand because of personal bias.
Yet another example of why Metal Academy is a superior site for the Metal connoisseur!
Hi guys, is it possible on the releases search pages to have a tick box enabling you to search for releases you have already rated, similar to the one excluding releases you've rated, thus allowing you to see things like a list of your rated releases from a given year etc.?
You can already see how many releases are related to each clan on the Homepage. You want that replicated on the Clans homepage (not necessarily each individual clan's homepage but the page you get when you click Clans)? I'm sure that wouldn't be difficult.
As for also showing how many you've rated...maybe...I'll check out how easy it would be.
I'll have you know that kvlt evil metallers get cold feet too Ben. Do you think they really go to bed in leather & spikes? I'm pretty sure that Satan himself wears ugg boots whilst enjoying a nice cup of tea & a biscuit after a hard day of cursing people for eternity.