Thumbs up: +14
As many of you know, I'm invested in a number of metal genres (sludge, post, prog, avant-garde, death, doom, a bit of black, ambient, etc.). Some of the more prominent albums will be given descriptions. All albums are assessed out of 10, which indicates musical perfection.

Last updated: April 16th, with Omnerod and Merkabah and Impetuous Ritual. I'll be updating far more frequently now.

Created by: Divergenceless | 19.01.2014



1. Los Random - Pidanoma
[9.0] Fans of The Mars Volta's legendary album Frances the Mute are in for a treat! This is an album with a pretty enthralling flow from track to track and plenty of interesting moments, but this is also filled with experimental moments that tend to linger a little bit like FtM did way back when. While this is my first exposure to Random, the dark atmospheric feel seems to me to be a crossover of Sepultura and Tool on this record. The vocalist, in particular, is directly comparable to Max Cavalera, in my opinion; the harshness to his tone is something that I really enjoy. There's a solid sludge doom feel at points, but it's not one of the more prominent features. In addition, the drummer is an absolute beast. An astounding album thoroughly worth any prog fan's time. Highlight: Me Chango.
2. Nasheim - Solens Vemod
[9.0] Some of the best black metal I have heard in a long time; for fans of Drudkh and Fen primarily. The elongated nature of the album might also appease Nachtvorst fans, but the prior two bands are clearly the target audience.
3. Impetuous Ritual - Unholy Congregation Of Hypocritical Ambivalence
[9.0]
4. Benighted - Carnivore Sublime
[8.8] Groovy and aggressive, French act Benighted deliver a wonderful brutal death metal performance here. The pig squeals are very nicely incorporated, and this is coming from a guy that doesn't really approve of pig squeals that often. Jekyll is the album highlight, with a beastly groove midway through the track that can please me with repeated listens.
5. Omnerod - Ivory Dune
[8.8]
6. Conquering Dystopia - Conquering Dystopia
[8.8] A beastly instrumental performance, to say the least.
7. Major Parkinson - Twilight Cinema
[8.8] My first exposure with Major Parkinson, but let's just say that I will be coming back. The band plays rock with cabaret sensibilities, maybe with a captivating dash of prog for flavour. The deep lacquered vocals are very well executed, best exemplified on Impermanence. At points, I cannot help but think of The Doors, but that would leave the theatrical qualities unaccounted for; I honestly don't think I can place this band relative to any other. The vital and catchy qualities of the accompanying music cannot help but be admired fully. I have seen some comparisons to Diablo Swing Orchestra, but I feel like that is somewhat misleading; while one might argue that the music is a little gimmicky, DSO usually feels weirder and way more gimmicky. This is just energetic, fun rock with enthralling bravado. It has been fused very convincingly with a courageous amount cabaret, and is consistent throughout. My highlight is A Cabin in the Sky.
8. Alkerdeel - Dyodyo Asema [Collaboration]
[8.7] A fantastic release that I thoroughly enjoyed in 2013; both Alkerdeel and Gnaw Their Tongues nail it.
9. Lethe - When Dreams Become Nightmares
[8.3]
10. Dirge - Hyperion
[8.3] A hypnotizing affair with a band that seems to deliver the goods on just about every record. Remanentie is the clear album highlight.
11. Shattered Hope - Waters of Lethe
[8.3]
12. Mammoth Storm - Rite of Ascension [EP]
[8.3]
13. Nibiru - Netrayoni
[8.1] Well, this is pretty original and awesome psychadelic ritualistic metal with droning vocals in Enochian. I'm not going to spoil this one for you, but it's a 90+ minute, double disc epic consisting of two rituals (The Kaula's Circle and Tears of Kaly). It's an experience without a single analog, that's for damn sure; if you can surivive the 17 minute opener, you're all set. I overrated this on the first few listens; it tends to bore me slightly, but it's still damn good. Highlight track: Celeste: Samsara is Broken.
14. Lurk - Kaldera
[8.1]
15. Devius - The Absents Presence
[8.1]
16. Atlas Machine - Elysium
[7.9] This Montreal-based one-man project delivers some hypnotizing ambient/drone music. I've found it incredibly interesting in the background, but more focused listens of the album remain impressive. The low rating is indicative of a not-so-impressive start (I would probably rate it as a high 6, low 7), but rest assured that this is merely an unequal album. From Nine of Swords onwards, this becomes an incredible listen for me (high 8). Nine of Swords, La tombée du Ciel, and Ashes to the Wind manage to feel inspired, and these varied selections are perfect for accompanying cold Canadian winter days. Please check out Atlas Machine on bandcamp: atlasmachine.bandcamp.com.
17. Cynic - Kindly Bent to Free Us
[7.8] This album is not quite the disaster that others have contended it is, nor is it Cynic's greatest album (a sentiment predominant to many of the prog fans in our community). From a first impression, this is noticeably duller than the Cynic of Focus or Traced in Air. Most indicative of this transformation is Masvidal's vocal performance, which is weary and unadventurous. The trademark vocoder effects manage to stir some interest (especially on Infinite Shapes), and instrumentally, there is a lot to be admired on this record; the sturdy jazz-fusion sentimentality (prominent in Traced in Air) is at work on tracks like Moon Heart Sun Head (which features a killer guitar solo that is so subtle it can be lost on a first listen), and you can still hear some classic Traced in Air-era Cynic in tracks like Gitanjali. My personal choice pick is Holy Fallout, which manages to generate some excitement in spite of a vocal performance that is patchy at times outside of the chorus. Overall, in spite of my strong words on the matter and my intense love affair with Cynic, it's hard not to conceive of this as a Valentine's Day disappointment. Repeat listens do open this one up, though.
18. Hirsute - Still Waiting
[7.8]
19. Merkabah [POL] - Moloch
[7.7]
20. Ethersens - Your Wandering Ghost
[7.5]
21. Hexis - Abalam
[7.4]
22. Hail Spirit Noir - Oi Magoi
[7.2]
23. Altar of Betelgeuze - Darkness Sustains the Silence
[7.2] An album the underground appears to be praising to no end, but honestly there isn't really anything fantastic that is on display. The production is particularly poor, in my opinion, oscillating from loud segments to quiet segments in a way that is detrimental to my listening experience.
24. Warknife - Amorphous
[7.0] In spite of a poor vocal performance (the closest analog being a shittier version of early Meshuggah vocals), there's enough meaty sludge to keep even the staunchest sludge fan appeased. The hardcore elements are generally pleasing, but the lack of variety can impede one's listening experience. The Veil Fragments is a highlight here.
25. Seven [US] - End of the Circle
[7.0] An interesting djent-alternative album. Seven really captured my attention with Numbers, which is the quintessential opening track. While not an original sound at all, Numbers features nice djenty riffs and prominent clean and harsh vocals that are very enticing; the slow Meshuggah chug breakdown is quite appealing and sounds like something Meshuggah would have pulled on Koloss. Unfortunately, the lack of variety on the record is its ultimate downfall and End of the Circle never manages to get past the incredible first impression of Numbers and the first few tracks. Numbers is very highly recommended for all djent fans, even if it is standard fare.
26. Alcest - Shelter
[6.2] Alcest finally manage to disappoint me here. All of these tracks are indicative of stagnation and become boring; Alcest was an act that incorporated harsh vocals very nicely and generated some evocative atmospheres, but the harsh vocals are tossed out of the mix entirely here and there is relatively little Neige can do to save this. He has now brought his sound into a territory dominated by the Sigur Ros' of the planet, and unless he can differentiate himself, it is likely I will lose my investment with the group. A real disappointment.
27. Desolation - V
[5.9] At points incoherent, my first encounter with Desolation is very disappointing. There is very little that is enrapturing here and relative to Atlas Machine, this is probably a waste of your time.



Disclaimer: All top lists are unofficial and do not represent the point of view of the MS Staff.
[ More lists by Divergenceless ]



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mz - 29.01.2014 at 23:16  
If this is going to be anything like your 2013 list then count me in
Zaphod - 06.02.2014 at 01:46  
+1 for Peanut Butter Burger ^^
Is the new Cynic available for streaming or something? It's not released yet. Other than that, some good picks, though I obviously disagree with Hail Spirit Noir, since it's my #1 of 2014 at the moment
Divergenceless - 06.02.2014 at 02:15  
Written by Zaphod on 06.02.2014 at 01:46

+1 for Peanut Butter Burger ^^
Is the new Cynic available for streaming or something? It's not released yet. Other than that, some good picks, though I obviously disagree with Hail Spirit Noir, since it's my #1 of 2014 at the moment

Cynic's newest has leaked, and as promised there are no harsh vocals present whatsoever. It's an interesting album and there are a few points that are filled with classic Cynic moments (ie. the opening track), but overall it was a huge step down from Traced in Air and Focus. It kind of plods along, but the minor shift in sound ultimately won me over.
As for HSN, I just can't get into them. I certainly don't think it's a bad record and I am very aware of its unique qualities. I would say, however, that from two listens I couldn't find any tracks that were highlight worthy. I'm clearly an outlier, though. 2014 is just beginning, though, so stay tuned!
Zaphod - 06.02.2014 at 02:24  
Written by Divergenceless on 06.02.2014 at 02:15

Cynic's newest has leaked, and as promised there are no harsh vocals present whatsoever. It's an interesting album and there are a few points that are filled with classic Cynic moments (ie. the opening track), but overall it was a huge step down from Traced in Air and Focus. It kind of plods along, but the minor shift in sound ultimately won me over.
As for HSN, I just can't get into them. I certainly don't think it's a bad record and I am very aware of its unique qualities. I would say, however, that from two listens I couldn't find any tracks that were highlight worthy. I'm clearly an outlier, though. 2014 is just beginning, though, so stay tuned!

Well, I'm not the biggest Cynic fan, so I don't mind it if they change their sound, I don't really have expectations for that album.
About HSN, it's OK if you don't like them, especially since you can admit it has unique qualities. One of the tracks that really stands out for me is "Mermaid" I just LOVE that one. I can understand if you don't like them though, back in '12 I didn't really get into them either. I knew their debut was something quite fresh/unique, but, for some reason I don't know about (Maybe I didn't give them enough of a chance, or maybe I just "wasn't ready" or something), I only started liking it a few months back. Maybe you should give them another try in a year or two
Anyways, ramble ramble, have a Peanut Butter Burger on me!
Oh, and that Major Parkinson album is indeed great
Chobo_jokeR - 09.02.2014 at 19:15  
+1 for Benighted. Nice start to the list!
tea[m]ster - 11.02.2014 at 22:35  
Never heard of half this stuff...would I like any of it?
Divergenceless - 12.02.2014 at 01:31  
Written by tea[m]ster on 11.02.2014 at 22:35

Never heard of half this stuff...would I like any of it?

Lethe, Major Parkinson and Ethersens might be up your alley. The rest of it would probably not jive with your tastes.
Oh, and Cynic is always a must for progheads.
R'Vannith - 12.02.2014 at 14:00  
Written by Divergenceless on 12.02.2014 at 01:31

Cynic is always a must for progheads.


Shameful of me, but I'm not a big fan of Cynic. I admire what they can do I suppose but it's not really music I've immersed myself in.

+1 for the promise of great tunes and fine cuisine!
tea[m]ster - 12.02.2014 at 17:12  
Quote:
Written by Divergenceless on 12.02.2014 at 01:31


Lethe, Major Parkinson and Ethersens might be up your alley. The rest of it would probably not jive with your tastes.
Oh, and Cynic is always a must for progheads.


Alright brother, I will give em a try and I will keep a close eye on this list.
Erik M. - 12.02.2014 at 21:10  
Written by tea[m]ster on 12.02.2014 at 17:12

Alright brother


He's not your brother, buddy!
Divergenceless - 13.02.2014 at 08:29  
Written by Erik M. on 12.02.2014 at 21:10

Written by tea[m]ster on 12.02.2014 at 17:12

Alright brother


He's not your brother, buddy!

Haha given all of the great albums he's led me towards, I'd be willing to call him a brother.
Divergenceless - 13.02.2014 at 08:32  
Written by R'Vannith on 12.02.2014 at 14:00

Written by Divergenceless on 12.02.2014 at 01:31

Cynic is always a must for progheads.


Shameful of me, but I'm not a big fan of Cynic. I admire what they can do I suppose but it's not really music I've immersed myself in.

+1 for the promise of great tunes and fine cuisine!

To each his own. Cynic prior to CBA is pretty good, in my opinion, but this incarnation of Cynic is different.
Are you going to make a killer list so I can steal enough albums to make a decent list for once?
R'Vannith - 13.02.2014 at 15:09  
Written by Divergenceless on 13.02.2014 at 08:32

To each his own. Cynic prior to CBA is pretty good, in my opinion, but this incarnation of Cynic is different.
Are you going to make a killer list so I can steal enough albums to make a decent list for once?


I've been considering giving the new Cynic album a try, perhaps it'll appeal to me. Only one way to find out!
Your lists are always informative, and I'm hoping you continue to add some comments to your listens on this one. I'll make a list at some point soon, when I have some material to share that is. At the moment I've dug into about a dozen releases from this year, Twilight Cinema and Oi Magoi being two of those. I've been meaning to check out the new Lurk there, after their grisly debut of a thing.
tea[m]ster - 16.02.2014 at 12:36  
Digging Atlas Machine. A kind of industrial/drone tagging up with some ambient black metal.
Divergenceless - 16.02.2014 at 17:03  
Written by tea[m]ster on 16.02.2014 at 12:36

Digging Atlas Machine. A kind of industrial/drone tagging up with some ambient black metal.

You can thank Joe for that one. I was really digging that album after two listens, and I might have to increase the rating. The middle to the end of the album was unreal.
tea[m]ster - 16.02.2014 at 18:17  
Written by Divergenceless on 16.02.2014 at 17:03

I was really digging that album after two listens, and I might have to increase the rating. The middle to the end of the album was unreal.


I will reciprocate.

Blown away by this. Don't let the horrible band name scare you. I haven't heard an instrumental post rock album as good as this since Liam's MMIX.



Whole album isn't on bandcamp, just a single
http://petslimmersoftheyear.bandcamp.com/
Divergenceless - 17.02.2014 at 03:58  
Written by tea[m]ster on 16.02.2014 at 18:17

Written by Divergenceless on 16.02.2014 at 17:03

I was really digging that album after two listens, and I might have to increase the rating. The middle to the end of the album was unreal.


I will reciprocate.

Blown away by this. Don't let the horrible band name scare you. I haven't heard an instrumental post rock album as good as this since Liam's MMIX.



Whole album isn't on bandcamp, just a single
http://petslimmersoftheyear.bandcamp.com/

Interesting stuff. I'll have to check out the album soon.
Erik M. - 18.02.2014 at 23:15  
Written by Divergenceless on 13.02.2014 at 08:29

Haha given all of the great albums he's led me towards, I'd be willing to call him a brother.


Ah too bad, I guess you haven't seen the South Park episode I was referring to. (just google "he's not your friend, buddy" or something like that and you'll see what I meant)
MechanisT - 19.02.2014 at 00:15  
Well...? Where are the descriptions?! >:[
Divergenceless - 19.02.2014 at 02:33  
Written by MechanisT on 19.02.2014 at 00:15

Well...? Where are the descriptions?! >:[

Haha I'm really busy with school, but I'll get to them soon enough. Don't fret, my friend.
I have a lot to say about Benighted in particular. The most fun I've had with metal in a long time.
Divergenceless - 19.02.2014 at 02:34  
Written by Erik M. on 18.02.2014 at 23:15

Written by Divergenceless on 13.02.2014 at 08:29

Haha given all of the great albums he's led me towards, I'd be willing to call him a brother.


Ah too bad, I guess you haven't seen the South Park episode I was referring to. (just google "he's not your friend, buddy" or something like that and you'll see what I meant)

Hehe I was unaware.
Neiluria - 19.02.2014 at 18:43  
There are groups that I do not know in your list.
I'll look at it more closely.
Come see my 2014 list too
Divergenceless - 23.02.2014 at 06:55  
Written by tea[m]ster on 16.02.2014 at 18:17

Written by Divergenceless on 16.02.2014 at 17:03

I was really digging that album after two listens, and I might have to increase the rating. The middle to the end of the album was unreal.


I will reciprocate.

Blown away by this. Don't let the horrible band name scare you. I haven't heard an instrumental post rock album as good as this since Liam's MMIX.



Whole album isn't on bandcamp, just a single
http://petslimmersoftheyear.bandcamp.com/


Dude... check out Nibiru now if you are unfamiliar with the group. The double-disc Netrayoni might be up your alley if you're looking for something unique.
Monolithic - 13.03.2014 at 08:32  
Me thinks the new Cynic is porn for jazz-fusion fans.

Funny we have the same taste when it comes to Alcest.
eponymous - 19.03.2014 at 03:30  
Quote:
At points, I cannot help but think of The Doors, but that would leave the theatrical qualities unaccounted for; I honestly don't think I can place this band relative to any other.


I take it you're not acquainted with Tom Waits, then? This is so damn close it could be called worship without much reservation. Especially the vocalist is doing his best impression. On the other hand, you're one of the few who actually has ears good enough to hear this isn't anywhere close to DSO. Well, it's a win-win for me, I love both Waits and DSO, so MP was quite a nice little surprise.
Divergenceless - 19.03.2014 at 05:30  
Written by eponymous on 19.03.2014 at 03:30

Quote:
At points, I cannot help but think of The Doors, but that would leave the theatrical qualities unaccounted for; I honestly don't think I can place this band relative to any other.


I take it you're not acquainted with Tom Waits, then? This is so damn close it could be called worship without much reservation. Especially the vocalist is doing his best impression. On the other hand, you're one of the few who actually has ears good enough to hear this isn't anywhere close to DSO. Well, it's a win-win for me, I love both Waits and DSO, so MP was quite a nice little surprise.

I am actually not familiar with the music of Tom Waits, although I have heard many great things about him. I will certainly be on the prowl.

Thanks a lot for letting me know your thoughts. It's really funny that people keep comparing it to Diablo Swing Orchestra.
Divergenceless - 19.03.2014 at 05:34  
Written by Monolithic on 13.03.2014 at 08:32

Me thinks the new Cynic is porn for jazz-fusion fans.

Funny we have the same taste when it comes to Alcest.

The new Cynic has been highly regarded within my circle of musician friends. I'm into jazz fusion a bit, but there was a bit of an engagement issue at the beginning for me. I keep listening and listening to it, though, and it grows on you.
Alcest really nailed it over the last few albums, but this time around, there's not really much to redeem it from mediocrity. Little of interest this time around. You and I seem to have some similar tastes; drop by again with a recommendation some time.
Monolithic - 19.03.2014 at 11:00  
Written by Divergenceless on 19.03.2014 at 05:34

You and I seem to have some similar tastes; drop by again with a recommendation some time.

Sure thingy. I've been wandering in my comfort zone lately but I'll drop by soon enough.
Monolithic - 23.03.2014 at 11:44  
Alright, here's my first shot: Mourning Dawn - Les Sacrifiés

Black metal with traces of doom metal scattered across the album. You fancy any doom/black metal?
Divergenceless - 23.03.2014 at 21:58  
Written by Monolithic on 23.03.2014 at 11:44

Alright, here's my first shot: Mourning Dawn - Les Sacrifiés

Black metal with traces of doom metal scattered across the album. You fancy any doom/black metal?

Oh yes. I'll give it a listen when school stops kicking me while I'm down.
tea[m]ster - 26.03.2014 at 16:55  
That Mourning Dawn release has potential. A little "slow" sometimes - I am not a big fan of that kind of doom - now I have to listen to disc 2...enormous album.

Also, I didn't like that Warknife album so much. Like you said, the vocals are the big turnoff. Keep the recs coming.

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