Normally, each month I take a look at some of the best metal from the past year. This is a bit late (from August) but I figured I still needed to put it up, keeping commitments and all. This month: Architects, Obscura, Uada, Aborted, Zeal & Ardor.
Architects – Holy Hell
Architects is extremely reminiscent of Linkin Park, with a really strong Nu Metal/Metalcore vibe. I enjoy it like I unironically enjoy Linkin Park. It’s a good sound, though there is a bit more asynchronicity that I truly enjoy, it does have a number of good tracks. I didn’t have a dying need to turn it off, but I also didn’t feel a pull to keep listening over and over.
Recommended Songs: Damnation, Royal Beggars, Doomsday
It’s not a bad album, and it is a different take on Nu Metal/Metalcore that I have experienced, taking the Technical Metal styles and matching them with screaming and lighter, higher Nu Metal sounds is pretty solid.
Obscura – Diluvium
Obscura is clearly a tech-metal band. Nothing that they do seems to be repetitive, catchy or hooky. They have a lot of interesting and different musical, instrumental, and vocal choices that enable them to stand out from the rest of the bands I’ve listened to this year. Coming after Architects gives them a kind of contrast with a different style for the same type of music. Obscura is definitely heavier, darker and meatier, a type of sound I generally enjoy a lot more. However, their diversion from typical musical styles is too much for me to really handle well, so I don’t really like them as much as I think they deserve.
Recommended Tracks: Diluvium, Convergence
While the vocals are absolutely more of the type I like than Architects, I don’t really dig the rest of the album. It’s good, a solid offering to Metal, but not one I want to listen to again.
Uada – Cult of a Dying Sun
I really enjoy the opening of the album. The music itself is slower, churning, very metal. They do however, mix their vocal types more than I like. They vary from screaming to stretched and back down to brutal growls and grumbles. There is just something about it I cannot take. Musically, I really enjoy their tone, their speed, and their clarity, but the vocals, as I said, just can’t enable more listening.
Recommended Tracks: Cult of a Dying Sun, Mirrors
Much like Obscura before it, there just isn’t enough here to hold me. The vocals really kill it for me, though I’m not sure that there is enough variance to their musicality to have held it otherwise.
Aborted – Terrorvision
Aborted is clearly a Death Metal band. Its gruble-growls are generally unintelligible and dissonant to the rest of the music. Musically, its very good, but – like so many others – I find myself turned off by vocals I specifically and targetedly do not enjoy. It’s disappointing to write the same thing over and over, not enjoying bands that sound, on the surface, really awesome, but that I simply cannot get behind their vocals, and listening to them is a chore.
See above. Good music, cool tones, and feel. Vocals that aren’t my thing.
Zeal & Ardor- Stranger Fruit
This is an amazing and unexpected turn of events. This album is completely different from anything I’ve listened to this year, or any year. Its a fusion of Gospel, Spiritual, and Metal. It’s amazing in a number of ways, and there is so much good to say about this album. Its got those rich tones and feel of gospel, the vibrancy of crunch of metal, and the clear vocals that I can enjoy. Its really well produced and provides an excellent listening experience, especially for someone tired of the current extreme metal. Its a fun and pleasant from beginning to end.
While it is a very good listen and an extremely original album with a lot to look forward to, it simply isn’t as fast and as powerful an album as I would like. It clearly does what it does correctly and is well worth the listen, but it’s not going to be an album that I am always in the mood for. Still, listen to it!