Staff picks


Flourishing - The Sum Of All Fossils
30.12.2011 | Post-Death Metal

When Ulcerate emerged early this year like a Kraken from the dead oceans and turned death metal upside down with an usually innovative lunge toward a Neurosis-ian, post-death aesthetic, I for one thought it would be a one-off entity for 2011. Apparently not. Along with a smattering of others that could fall under this neologism, such as Baring Teeth, Owl and perhaps even Mitochondrion, Flourishing take more than a leaf from this burgeoning movement of a more textured approach to death metal (and post-hardcore) and manage to inject a level of variety and diversity not seen even in The Destroyers Of All (being the perfect remedy for those that found it too repetitive).

This is one record that does not deserve to slip by unnoticed.

Picked by:
Thumbs up:
!J.O.O.E.!
Mr. Doctor, Ag Fox, Nefarious, Darkside Momo
Firewind - The Premonition
30.12.2011 | Good power metal

Whenever I pick up Firewind's latest effort, Days Of Defiance, I always end up listening to this instead. Classy, polished, catchy, heavy and prog-tinged, nicely written and performed - probably as high as this band's gonna get. No cigar in 2011 for you, lads. But it's cool, this one has got enough swag in it to last for several years.

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Picked by:
MoraWintersoul
To Cast A Shadow - In Memory Of
28.12.2011 | doom / gothic metal

Like walking through a home just as its owners are silently moving out, with different cities as their destinations, To Cast A Shadow finds a way to express warmth and desire within a lonely, gloomy atmosphere of doom-drenched gothic metal. Deliberate percussion, heavy bass and guitar, with a pulsing drama and internal struggle lyrically, they mostly keep it mid-tempo to slow, but with the occasional outburst that adds an urgency to the overall arrangements within. Distraught male growls & murky female vocals that yearn for an end to interpersonal distances, In Memory Of is a swansong to what two people once were, and the reality of what is left behind.
Picked by:
Thumbs up:
dismaleuphony
Ag Sox, Lyrinan, Dane Train, MoraWintersoul, Mr. Doctor
Vildhjarta - Måsstaden
25.12.2011 | Djent

The ultimate djent mind-fuck and the most extreme album of the year. Tesseract, Uneven Structure or Textures might be more accessible, but this is the real deal.
Picked by:
Thumbs up:
jupitreas
Introspekrieg, Mr. Doctor, Darkside Momo, !J.O.O.E.!, wormdrink414
Forefather - Last Of The Line
23.12.2011 | Anglo-Saxon Black Metal
Bandcamp music player

If you ask me (and why wouldn't you) Forefather have long been the ultimate guilt-free way to enjoy cheesy and emphatically epic metal without having to give up your scruples and go to the Dark side that is power or folk metal. The hyper-melodic leads and soaring cleans are always in direct opposition to guttural rasps, blasting drums and heavy riffing.

Any fans of 'Steadfast' should luxuriate in this like a Viking bathes in the blood of his enemies.
Picked by:
Thumbs up:
!J.O.O.E.!
Baz Anderson, Fat & Sassy!, Promonex, wormdrink414
ThanatoSchizo - Origami
22.12.2011 | Prog/alternative/folk

ThanatoSchizo may be unknown but they are talented. This year's Origami couldn't be a better testament to that. The album is very unique: you'll find many Portuguese and other folk elements and instruments, outstanding original female vocals and acoustic brilliance. If you like progressive rock or just acoustic sounds and experimentation in general, chances are this album will not leave you indifferent. Other than that, good music is always worth listening to.

Unfortunately, Origami was the band's swan song, precisely when they decided to revisit their metal career. But at least we got this goodbye note.
Picked by:
Thumbs up:
BloodTears
Dane Train, Ivor, Lyrinan, Fat & Sassy!
De Magia Veterum - The Divine Antithesis
22.12.2011 | Divine Noise

Seven hymns to honor the beauty of chaos.
Disharmony reigns supreme!

Read review ››
Picked by:
Thumbs up:
Mr. Doctor
!J.O.O.E.!, Troy Killjoy, DerRozzengarten, Ag Fox
Hedon Cries - The End Of The Path Is Nigh
16.12.2011 | Melodic Death Doom

A bit of doom and gloom breath of fresh air in this stagnant scene that's not to be missed if you're a fan of melodic death metal.
Picked by:
Ag Fox
Giant Squid - Cenotes
16.12.2011 | Post metal
Bandcamp music player

A gem of a band you might have overlooked in the past. Excellent song-writing, beautiful and haunting melodies supplied by the cello, varying songs, a bit doomy, a bit proggy - this here is a great post metal blend to accompany you as we near the longest night of the year. Yes, it's a short release, and yes, it does lose some edge towards the end. Still worth your time, though.
Picked by:
Thumbs up:
Ivor
Ag Fox, BloodTears, Dane Train, Mr. Doctor
Uneven Structure - Februus
16.12.2011 | Tim Heckershuggah.

Say what you will about the "Djent" genre but it mixes rather nicely with ambient soundscapes. Deep tone, spacey atmosphere and surprisingly pleasant clean vocals make this one of the most organic and impressive sounding Djent-affairs on the market. Called it "Progressive" instead of "Djent" if it irks you.
Picked by:
Thumbs up:
!J.O.O.E.!
Ag Fox, jupitreas, Introspekrieg, Mr. Doctor
Voyager - The Meaning Of I
16.12.2011 | Progressive awesomeness
Bandcamp music player

When the year is good, awesome releases of little bands often get overlooked. But the Prog Police has deemed this worthy. Enjoy.
Picked by:
Thumbs up:
MoraWintersoul
GT, Dane Train
Iron Savior - The Landing
08.12.2011 | Heavy Power metal

Piet Sielck's Iron Savior returns after four years with The Landing. In great form, this band always deliver some of the heaviest and catchiest power metal around.
Picked by:
Thumbs up:
Baz Anderson
Ag Fox, Lyrinan, MoraWintersoul
Forteresse - Crépuscule d'Octobre
08.12.2011 | Atmospheric black metal

Steady as she goes...

Read review ››
Picked by:
Thumbs up:
Troy Killjoy
DerRozzengarten, Ag Fox, MoraWintersoul, Mr. Doctor
Total Fucking Destruction - Hater
06.12.2011 | Grindcore

Grindcore isn't really my thing, but for whatever reason the 27 tracks in 27 minutes catchy blast plastered a smile on face. This album won't be on "repeat repeatedly", but paired with a mug of coffee it is a nice adrenaline spike to get me going in the morning. Haters be hatin' Hater, but not me.
Picked by:
Thumbs up:
BitterCOld
White Winter Sun
Shadowside - Inner Monster Out
01.12.2011 | Heavy Power Metal

Inner Monster Out has it all: heaviness; catchy melodies; non-cheesy vocals; boundless energy; badassitude; everything. Do you remember how great it felt to experience a truly amazing new power metal album? Let Shadowside remind you.
Picked by:
Thumbs up:
Lyrinan
dismaleuphony, Ag Fox, GT, MoraWintersoul