Metal Days – Diversity of Metal

Each year, I like to take a step back and look at the prior year’s releases in Metal music, to try and sort through them and find an album or two that I really enjoy. Last year was an amazing success, introducing me to a number of new bands that I very much enjoy. Let’s take a look at what is in store for the June listening list. This is gonna be a week late, in the wrong month. Thanks, Lock and Load!

Immortal – Northern Chaos Gods

This album is pretty typical black metal, which means for me that I’m not too much of a fan. The music itself is really strong, with hammering drums and powerful guitar riffs that I really enjoy. However, its black metal and that means that the vocals are that harsh, screaming, permeating kind that I have a very hard time enjoying. As the static, seemingly unproduced sound drug on through the album, I was able to get used to it a bit more, but by the end of the album, I simply wasn’t going to reach for it again.

Recommended Tracks: Into Battle Ride, Gates to Blashyrkh, Grim and Dark

Personal Rating:

Even though the music in the album was excellent, I just wasn’t able to really enjoy the album due to the vocals. If you like black metal, be sure to check it out, though. If this was a speed metal album, I’d be all over it!

YOB – Our Raw Heart

As a Doom Metal band, I expect this album to be a heavy, slow, crawl, and it really doesn’t disappoint on that front, breaking into that typical doom style repeatedly over the course of the album. The atmosphere of pervading doom just permeates everything and is complemented by his echoing, reverberating crooning that he seems to do. I really like the vocals, even though they aren’t something I’d generally reach for. He does get into the typical death metal growling lyrics, but its effect is pretty subdued, overall.

Recommended Tracks: Ablaze, The Screen, Beauty in Falling Leaves,

Personal Rating:

While the album is fine, it isn’t something I am going to go out of my way to listen to. It’s more grooving, slow, and grinding than I like. It clearly shows its stoner metal influences, but it doesn’t turn me off immediately, which is a plus.

Sleep – The Sciences

The Sleep is a pretty reasonable example of unproduced, rough, garbled static. The vocals, however, provide a strong contrast, being an understandable and clean, though pretty light, seeming to float overtop the rest of the music. Its a really interesting effect. Nothing really puts me off of the album, but its speed is to low and its production too minimal.

Recommended Tracks: Marijuanaut’s Theme, Giza Butler, The Botanist

Personal Rating:

Again, this album is fine. There isn’t any specific thing that makes me want to turn it off or never listen to it again. However, the unproduced sound is a distraction, and the vocals, though cool, are too minimal to redeem the sound.

Revocation – The Outer Ones

My god. Look at that cover. So awesome! I’ve got a lot of mixed feelings about this album. The vocals are strong, but they tend to overwhelm the rest of the band, which is thrashy and quick, but the drums don’t hammer nearly enough, and there is just too much of a kinda electronic sound that creeps in. The album also slows down a few time, but without the prog-like sound or clear, crisp metal that I can listen to for long times. I do like a number of the solos, but they, too, are unproduced and scratchy.

Recommended Tracks: That Which Consumes All Things, The Outer Ones, Luciferous

Personal Rating:

It’s just a parade of really solid, but ultimately forgettable songs. Nothing draws me in, which seems to be a running theme. I’ve nothing against the album and the artists, they just aren’t working for me.

Horrendous – Idol

So, Horrendous is Death Metal, which I’m pretty sure I don’t like as a genre, to be completely honest. The music is unproduced but fine, but the vocals. Man the vocals. This album definitely has a very progish undertone that no other death metal album I’ve heard does, but it’s just not enough to keep me looped in.

Recommended Tracks: Devotion, Threnody, Obolus

Personal Rating:

This album just doesn’t have enough of either the lyrical qualities or the musical qualities that I want in an album. I listened to it, but I don’t want to do it again. Once again, it’s not my type of metal.