Each month I take a look at some of the most highly rated metal from the past year. I’m behind by a month, but let’s keep at it with Vein, Outer Heaven, Harms Way, Cult Leaders, Imperial Triumphant and Turnstile.
This month is the first time I’ve wandered off the beaten and well-tread path of my standard Metal friends at Banger, and boy, the stuff that gets lumped into the metal genre sometimes. This months albums also include a number of punk bands, as Exclaim joins the two together into the Best Metal and Punk Bands list. I never really was a fan of, or honestly even a person who knows enough about, Punk to even try and make a reasonable guess at what is good and not, but this month, I take the plunge!
Error Zone is the type of combination of Nu metal, punk and distorted warble that really, really gets under my skin. It has just enough of that offbeat and bizarre tech metal rhythm that I simply cannot get behind it. Thankfully, the album is short – clocking in at around 23 minutes, and many songs being just around a minute in length. I absolutely detested every minute of listening to what my notes refer to as pure noxious garbage.
Recommended Songs: None. Don’t listen to this album. I believe this is the first time I’ve said this because I try to be cordial to all styles of music. I simply cannot with this. I don’t like it and don’t understand how others would.
Since there Ain’t no Zero’s, I give you a 1.
While Outer Heaven is clearly a Death Metal band, and I’ve had a pretty poor relationship with most of them, this one either came at the right time or is actually solid. It has speedy, pounding riffs, heavy drums and guitar, and a low rumbling growl for vocals that, honestly, I don’t mind. I cannot understand them, but they also don’t seem to be trying to be understood. instead, It easily fades into the background with the rest of the musical instruments. I like it, but only so far as that it’s not actively bad, and that it might be able to grow on me, given the chance.
Recommended Tracks: Pulsating Swarm; Tortured Winds; Decaying Realms
Like most of the Albums this year, this one is good but does nothing to really ignite my love for either the album or the band. It’s a solid, heavy sound and if you like death metal, you’ll like it.
Harms way is labeled as Straightedge hardcore punk. I write in my notes “What the shit even is straight edge hardcore punk,” and to this moment, I simply don’t know. I do know that, much like Vein, I do not like it. It’s not heavy enough, it’s unintelligible, and it’s not fast enough. I cannot understand whats going on, either musically or lyrically, and it simply turns me off. I stomached the whole not quite terrible collective sounds and screaming, but it’s not something I’ll voluntarily do again.
Recommended Tracks: Become a Machine; Dead Space
I cannot really stand this album more than in a very basic manner Its a simply a screaming, yelling, noisesome burr when I listen to it. However, it’s significantly better than Vein, and many of the hideous albums I’ve put myself through.
Cult Leaders are, to no one’s who’s read this long’s surprise, not my cup of tea. Its got hideous and impossible to understand lyrics, it has the upbeat and strange punk sounds, and its the worst parts of Punk and Death Metal combines. I believe, and this may bear out over the next few albums, that I simply don’t get or don’t understand, Punk.
Recommended Tracks: A Patient Man, To: Achlys, and The Broken Right Hand of God
Again, neither the music, the tone, the vocals or simply anything about this album is something I would want to listen to again. Good riddance.
This. This album. I was so into it for the first track. It lays in with an awesome, old school horn call. It feels like, as its namesake should, some form of vile luxury. It’s an amazing opening track. Then, sadly, the actual first tracks open, and the black metal pulls to the fore and destroys everything that was beautiful with the opening. It has those asynchratic notes, the hideous vocals and a bizarre, dissonant sound I just cannot embrace. Does not want.
Recommended Tracks: Cosmopolis abandons the traditional sounds of the rest of the album and is actually neat to listen to until it returns to the album’s roots and begins again.
My disappointment with this album after the really cool opening track is palpable and never-ending. I will not forgive them.
Oh, sweet Jesus. Another Punk album. Except, this one is fine. Its a bit more light than the rest, it’s speedy, with those yelling lyrics that remind me of a few songs I heard during my youth in the ’90s. It’s not bad, honestly, if it is a bit up tune and up-tempo. Yelling, but without the screeching, is nice, and the guitar is clearly the main instrument. The deemphasis on the bass and bass drum are noticeable differences between what I normally listen to, and this.
Recommended Tracks: Can’t get away and Right to be are the only tracks long enough to be real tracks, and are fine.
I’m probably being extremely generous here, but they have a good sound, they don’t offend my ears, and after ages of punk, this is going to get a pass. Its fine punk.
Well! that is it!
Join me next month for The Armed, Black Viper, The Body, Convulsing and Deafheaven