Posts

Top Ten Icon

Brootalisk’s Top Ten Loud Rock Albums of 2013

When each year is over, I’m always at a loss for how to summarize what a phenomenal year it’s been for metal, and 2013 was no different. It was the first year ever that a metal album was named the best record of the year by Metacritic, that Justin Bieber made his love for Metallica known, and that a metal cover of a pop song was voted to be the best out of 30 other covers. Normally, I wouldn’t give a flying fuck about these sensationalist news articles that exist only to get ratings and views. However, my recent trip to New York for the CMJ convention really taught me a lot about where the genre of metal stands right now in the grand scheme of things. To put it short: we metal heads NEED these kind of attention whoring events. With the music industry as a whole becoming less and less of a viable and sustainable option for many, the metal genre too is hurting because it’s not receiving the attention (and therefore sales) that it used to get back in the ’80s and early ’90s. That’s why I encourage people like Justin Bieber to wear a Metallica shirt, or for Kanye West to don “heavy metal” pants, no matter how atrocious they are. At least the metal genre is garnering more attention now than it has in the past decade. And while you may discourage attention from “non-trve” fans, keep in mind that the more attention the genre gets, the more sales, and thus money, it receives, which in turn emboldens upcoming artists to make new and exciting material, which (hopefully) garners more attention, and so on, until the circle of life is complete. /endrant

With that long winded tirade out of the way, let’s get back to what we’re all here for: me showing you a list of pretentious albums that you probably don’t care about but feel like you should because they’re my favorite albums of 2013. If you think you know better than I do, feel free to reply below, and I’ll take your choice into consideration as I cure cancer and solve world peace.

 

Entities

10) Pomegranate TigerEntities

Entities isn’t just a great album; it’s a great instrumental album, something that is becoming increasingly difficult to do in today’s over saturated instru-metal genre. What ‘s even more impressive is the fact that Pomegranate Tiger have managed to create an album that’s just as technically advanced as the frontrunners of the genre (see: Animals as Leaders, Scale the Summit) while also being a coherent piece of art. And it’s exactly that: the progressive metal outfit have created a work that doesn’t just flaunt their prowess, but progresses the waterlogged brand of music, something that was desperately needed.

Recommended Tracks: 2, 5, 11

 

 

 

 

 


Gorguts-Colored-Sands9) Gorguts
Colored Sands

I remember seeing Gorguts last year when they played with the Death to All group in San Francisco and thinking to myself, “This does not sound like a band whose last album was released eleven years ago.” Indeed, a year later, Gorguts has come out to show all the posers how it’s done with Colored Sands. With the record, Gorguts combines a few tricks they’ve learned with the trademarked technical brutality that they are just so damn good at. Couple that with the prowess of Kevin Hufnagel (of Dysrhythmia fame), and you’ve got one undeniably sexy record.

Recommended Tracks: 2, 3 9

 

 

 

 

 

Russian-Circles-Memorial8) Russian Circles – Memorial

Arguably the most elegant release this year, Memorial is an amalgamation of everything Russian Circles has been up to this point. While “Deficit” showcases their inhuman capacity for catchy hooks, “1777” extracts itself from Russian Circles’ earlier moments featuring beautiful soaring melodies that transcends everything in its class. Unfortunately, Russian Circles apparently suffers from a short attention span, as the album is well under normal LP length times. Clocking in at 37 minutes, its just 7 minutes longer than Between the Buried and Me’s Parallax EP. An unfair comparison maybe, but it is worth noting. Nevertheless, less of a great thing is a good problem to have, and it’s still an achievement in of itself to accomplish so much with so little.

Recommended Tracks: 2, 3, 6

 

 

 

 

 

pth7) Protest the Hero – Volition

Tell me, what were you thinking when Protest the Hero successfully funded their newest album Volition via Kickstarter? Were you thinking that the album would be as good as it was? Because I sure as hell was not. I was half expecting Choady to just run off with the money and buy as much cheap booze $300,000 could get him. Instead of shitty liquor, we’ve gotten Volition in return, and what an investment. The album’s chock full of what you’d expect from P T to the motherfucking H, but it’s also got a much more mature feel than their last effort. The record also harks back to the good ol’ days of Kezia, and even has a direct reference to Fortress in “Animal Bones,” which, if we’re being honest, I am a huge sucker for.

Recommended Tracks: 2, 5, 10


 

 

 

 

Altar-of-Plagues-Teethed-Glory6) Altar of Plagues – Teethed Glory and Injury

While Altar of Plagues is regrettably no more, we can celebrate their previous existence with their unforgettably enduring swan song that is Teethed Glory and Injury. During the album’s intense 48 minutes, you can definitively detect the painstaking detail that went into each and every note of the album. This record will chill you to your very core. It will rattle your mind. There is nothing easy about this album, which makes it that much more great. Unlocking an album of this magnitude takes time, but it is time well worth investing.

Recommended Tracks: 2, 5, 9

 

 

 

 

 

Vertikal+cult_of_luna5) Cult of LunaVertikal

My deeply personal inner struggles with the ISIS disbandment has left many emotional scars on me, causing me to have trust issues with post-metal bands. However, there is one outfit that I can always have confidence in: Cult of Luna. With Vertikal, they’ve solidified what I’ve always known: they’re the best active post-metal ensemble right now (come at me Neurosis). And what a way to showcase their vast expertise and knowledge: Vertikal is a concept album that, at its core, deals with a government who is corrupted in a big-brother fashion. With the NSA scandal, never before is such a notion as relevant as it is today, and Vertikal was released before that defamation even occurred. Either Cult of Luna are indeed really good at writing concept albums, or they’re psychics from another dimension. I’m leaning towards the latter.

Recommended Tracks: 2, 6, 8

 

 

 

 


Deafheaven-Sunbather4) Deafheaven
– Sunbather

No band on this list, and potentially in all of metal, shows more blinding potential than San Francisco’s own Deafheaven. Everywhere I look, George Clark (vocalist) is right there with his creepy ass stare. Hell, they were even in an Apple advertisement for fuck’s sake. Combine their increase in popularity with an entrancing live performance, and there’s only one thing missing for this band to blow up: good music. HAH. Just kidding. Sunbather kicks monumental anus. The record perfectly treads the line between uplifting affection and sinister despair. 

Recommended Tracks: 1, 5, 7

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ovid's Withering Scryers of the Ibis3) Ovid’s Withering – Scryers of the Ibis

Talk about coming out of nowhere. By the time I had heard this album for the first time, I already had my top ten list nicely made and organized, and Ovid’s Withering throws their debut album right out of left field to fuck everything up. And I couldn’t be happier about it. Scryers of the Ibis is everything I have ever wanted from a technical metal record, and more that I couldn’t have ever dreamed of. From the absurdly destructive riffs to the intricately and impeccably placed electronic segments, Scryers of the Ibis is one of the greatest debuts of any technical metal outfit in history. Period.

Recommended Tracks: 4, 8, 12

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leprous Coal2) Leprous – Coal

Coal is arguably the most criminally overlooked album this year. It’s also one of the best progressive metal albums in recent years. No more is Leprous just Ihsahn’s “back up band.” Gone is the looming moniker of “Opeth wannabes.” Leprous is a genuinely original band with a hell of a lot of talent, and Coal features every aspect of their incredible musicianship. From Einar’s soaring vocals to the ridiculously catchy rhythms by bassist Martin, this album has everything you would ever want from a progressive metal record. Also, I don’t care what anyone says, but “The Valley” is undoubtedly the best song of the year.

Recommended Tracks: 2, 3, 5

 

 

 

 

 

TheOcean-Pelagial1) The Ocean – Pelagial

Ultimately, there’s not much to say about a #1 album of the year except to simply yell through your computer LISTEN TO THIS GODDAMN ALBUM OR I WILL SHOVE IT INSIDE YOUR EARHOLES. Assuming you have listened to it, here’s a reason why this is the definitive metal record of the year: it’s a concept album about the motherfucking depths of the ocean written by a band called The Ocean. All kidding aside, Pelagial is, in this humble writer’s opinion, the epitome of a perfectly executed metal record. It’s coherent in every sense of the word. Each song flows flawlessly into each other. Everything is meticulously placed where it should be while still feeling natural and organic. It is the perfect mix of experimentation and execution. There will never be another record quite like Pelagial, and because of it there will never be another year quite like 2013.


Recommended Tracks: 2, 4, 9

TopTenAlbumsOfTheHalfYear1

Brootalisk’s Top Ten Albums of the Half Year

Since everyone is doing it, I thought I’d jump on the bandwagon (that’s what all the cool kids are doing, right?) and share the ten albums in 2013 that have made me change my booty shorts more than I’d like to admit. Without further ado, here are my ten favorite albums of the year so far (in alphabetical order). Oh, and I think it goes without saying that if you haven’t heard an album listed here, do yourself a kindness and crank that shit up.

Altar-of-Plagues-Teethed-Glory-InjuryAltar of PlaguesTeethed Glory and Injury

 

 

 

 

 

Anciients-Heart-of-Oak-SmallAnciientsHeart of Oak

 

 

 

 

 

vertikalCult of LunaVertikal

 

 

 

 

 

Deafheaven_-_Sunbather_LPDeafheavenSunbather

 

 

 

 

 

Intronaut-Habitual-Levitations-800x800IntronautHabitual Levitations (Instilling Words with Tones)

 

 

 

 

 

Leprous-CoalLeprousCoal

 

 

 

 

 

mouth-of-the-architect-dawningMouth of the ArchitectDawning

 

 

 

 

 

TheOcean-PelagialThe OceanPelagial

 

 

 

 

 

imagesPomegranate TigerEntities

 

 

 

 

 

Scale-the-Summit-The-MigrationScale the SummitThe Migration

 

 

 

 

 

Another 10 bands to keep on the lookout in the 2nd half of 2013: AlcestBehemoth, Exivious, Fleshgod Apocalypse, Gorguts, Opeth, Protest the Hero, Revocation, Rosetta, Russian Circles.

SummerButthurt2013

A Critical Analysis of the Summer Slaughter Butthurt

SummerButthurt2013

 

On the fateful day of Friday March 22nd, a dramatic event that has shaken and reverberated across the entire metal community occurred: the line up at this years Summer Slaughter Festival was announced. Hordes upon hordes of furious metal heads took to their respective computers to proclaim that this is irrevocably the worst thing to happen since the first use of Comic Sans. It was as if thousands of voices cried out in terror, with guttural screams ranging from how the tour has “sold out” to shrieks of despair exclaiming that Summer Slaughter has gone soft on us. All this backlash from a simple tour announcement raises the questions: what gives? Why all the moaning and groaning at what seems (at least at first glance) like a solid line up? It’s prompted yours truly to do some critical thinking, like counting on my fingers, to try and figure this whole mess out.

 

First, let’s look at the bands on the line up. As seen to the left, four of the eight announced bands (Dillinger, Animals, Periphery, and The Ocean) are almost universally considered to be some of the premier progressive acts currently making music in the metal genre. It’s also worth noting that of these four, three of them are at the top of the bill, implying that they’ll be playing the longest sets during every show. The remaining four bands could loosely be described as death metal, with Norma Jean being the outlier. The point of all this band cataloging  is to show that at least half of the tour will be playing progressive metal. This isn’t counting the bands that have yet to be announced, which, if my sources are correct, include Veil of Maya and Within the Ruins, two more fairly progressive metal acts.

Another important note: Animals as Leaders and Periphery have already both been on this bill, with Periphery touring as recently as last year (you can throw Veil of Maya in that bucket too if my hypothesis is correct).

Looking at the previous Summer Slaughter line ups, it’s really interesting to see how the tour has progressed over these past 5 years. It’s gone from featuring some of the biggest death metal bands in the genre, such as Necrophagist and Black Dahlia Murder, to more progressive outfits, like Between the Buried and Me and Dillinger Escape Plan. In reality, this is where the entire metal genre has been headed during the past 5 years. We are currently in the middle of the transition from death metal being the most popular subgenre to progressive metal. If you’re still in doubt, just look at how fast Protest the Hero completed their Indiegogo campaign, or the incredibly rapid rise in popularity both Animals as Leaders and Periphery have found after only two albums. The point is, there’s a big shift in the metal genre right now, and the current Summer Slaughter line up is entirely indicative of this.

Thus, with all this information in mind, can we really blame all the angry metal heads out there raging over the Summer Slaughter bill? If, hypothetically, the Progressive Nation Tour started to feature black metal after 5 years, it’d be pretty easy to be upset at such a scenario. Sure, there are definitely black metal bands who push the envelope and “progress” the genre, but do they really belong on a bill that advertises itself as a progressive metal tour? An answer to such a question is one of pure opinion, and it can be debated, but there’s no real right answer. It’s just like saying that Animals as Leaders aren’t “extreme” enough to be on a tour that showcases some of the most “extreme” bands in the metal genre. How is “extreme” defined? The trio that make up Animals as Leaders are without a doubt some of the most talented musicians out there, and can certainly shred it up when they want to, but does that make them “extreme”? The same goes for the rest of the aforementioned bands. It’s completely up to debate just how extreme these musicians are, with no clear right or wrong answer. Even so, it’s hard to deny the fact that each and every band on the current line up is unique and different in their own way, and should not be missed simply because they might be out of place on this festival.

So when you’re on the forums of Heavy Blog is Heavy, or you’re perusing the Summer Slaughter Facebook page, before you go judging the metal heads who are completely bashing the line up, understand where they are coming from. Sure, they’re going to be missing out on some of the finest acts that the metal genre has to offer when the festival rolls around this summer, but know that their indignation is at least somewhat reasonable, with just a slight hint of butthurt.

A Preview Of What 2013 Has In Store For Us Metalheads

2012 has brought upon us mere mortals some fantastic records. Big name bands, like Gojira, Enslaved, and Neurosis, have all presented amazing, high quality full length features that are sure to be regarding by some as instant classics, perhaps even winning an album of the year award or two. Even more obscure bands, such as Cloudkicker and Ne Obliviscaris, have been releasing phenomenal records. However, the 2012 year is almost to a close, and now is as good a time as any to start looking forward to 2013 and what potential masterpieces we can begin eagerly anticipating for.

 Cult of Luna Ready to Melt Our Faces

Cult of Luna, a post metal band hailing from Sweden, is set to drop Vertikal, their first record in 5 years. If their last two releases were indicative of anything, it’s that CoL are in the process of becoming one of the finest post metal outfits of our generation. Whether or not Vertikal will live up to the standard that’s become synonymous with the band, time can only tell.

 

BTBAM/Coheed/Russian Circles Tour

2013 will have just started, and already the biggest tour of the year (arguably) starts in February. Announced officially on November 5th, this tour features some of the best live acts in our generation, with Russian Circles opening and BTBAM co-headlining beside Coheed and Cambria. Prepare your anuses people. This won’t just be the most anticipated concert of the year, it’ll also be the geekiest.

 

Scale the Summit Will Give Us Another Summit to Scale

Letchford and company have been making a name for themselves as one of the best instrumental outfits currently around. Their last album, The Collective, was a great example of premium virtuoso guitar work.  According to the band, “We just started work on our next album. The material we have written so far is definitely pushing us into new territory.” In fact, the band very recently posted a new album teaser over on their YouTube home page. According to the  video, the record is called The Migration, and will drop sometime  in  Spring 2013.

An Amalgamation Of Promising New Material

Some more artists that have been hinting about dropping new releases  in 2013, but with much less details surrounding the albums, are Chimp Spanner, The Ocean, and Cynic. The Ocean have mentioned that they’re considering creating a full fledged instrumental album, which would be new for them, whereas Cynic and Chimp Spanner have been updating their respective Facebook pages with lots of teases about their new album in the works.

DISAPPOINTED

While I’m sure 2013 will be a good year for music, it’s just not going to be able to live up to the sheer amount of greatness that 2012 exuded. We’re all being spoiled this year, and I’ve sure as hell made certain not to waste this opportunity of awesome metalness this year. Have you?