If it hasn’t become apperint by now; We in Aphesis do enjoy making lists.
There is always the temptation to qualify your list by some subjective measurement, so that it can live on its’ own merits (Best album to listen to on the third tuesday of the month if you own cats). Well for this one, I’m gunna say nuts to that. Who cares what the best metal albums of the year were if they were all garbage. (I’m not saying they were, relax).
OK so here’s a list of albums I love with no other quantifiers except that I’m listening to them a lot lately.
Ylem (Dark fortress)
Dark Fortress was a lucky Spotify recommendation. Honestly, when we play D&D, we usually listen to Black Metal or Doom. But it’s just background noise. Dark Fortress stuck out because of the tasty way they incorporate orchestration with gnarly guitars. On Ylem in particular, the songs sound similar to Septic Flesh (one of my favorites). Some of their other albums are a bit inconsistent but Ylem is pure Satanic Blackened Death Metal the whole way through. For me, as someone sort of new to the genre, this is a defining sound. And It’s fuckin Eeeeevil.
Terminal Redux (Vektor)
Terminal Redux took a couple listens to grow on me. I was off-put by the harsh vocals at first. I’m used to my metal screams having a lower pitch. Once I adjusted to that though, I was able to take in this swirling space-scape of riffage. Vektor is for guitar lovers. It’s super technical and super thrashy. They’re not afraid to experiment with some pop and jazz stuff as well. I realize I’m late to the party with this band but I’m a fan for sure now. Their sound is absolutely unique and I love the commitment to a distinct vision, both in sound and concept. I’m looking forward to diving into their earlier stuff as well, which I’ve heard is a little less experimental.
Machine Messiah (Sepultura)
I was definitely of the opinion that Roots was the last and probably only good Sepultura record. I’ve tried getting into the other ones but always thought they were pretty ‘meh’. Coming from that point of view, Machine Messiah was wonderful surprise. This album is full of world music and tons of extra textures. There’s the tribal percussion Sepultura is known for but also some awesome middle eastern sounding orchestration. It sounds super fresh and ambitious. Like almost as if they have been doing this for decades and got better at it. If you’ve written off Sepultura as being past their glory days, prepare to flip your script.
The Moon Lit Our Path (Tempel)
This one’s all instrumental. I’m sure I’m not alone in needing the occasional palette cleanser from Brootal demon vocals. Tempel sound like progressive stoner sludge. Their songs can be slow to build but the pay-off is worthwhile when they bring in heavy as fuck breakdowns that sound like conan destroying someone's head.
Odyssey to the West (Slice the Cake)
I’m sure we’ve all had that experience - where you give a new band a listen and instantly regret even bothering. Man, sometimes when I’m looking through the net for new bands, I just start hating music. There is so much awful, mediocre, uninspired, boring crap out there. But then there are those moments. You know what I’m talking about, those rare sweet moments when you find a piece of music that reaches right into your chest and finds that sweet spot of awesome. Slice the Cake was a band I stumbled upon from the Progressive Metal Sub-Reddit. Having zero context for what I was about to listen to, I clicked a link, mostly cause I thought “funny name for a prog band”. I was instantly captivated by the melodic, shakespearean voice crooning about “agencies with the preordained”. I’m a sucker for this kind of thing, that maybe takes itself way too seriously. The thing is, Slice the Cake knows how to back-up their pretension with fucking awesome, amazing, dynamic songwriting. Theres Djent and Core but also Prog and Poetry in every song. Mostly though there is guts and honesty and soul. This album had me looking around the room that no one else as in like “are you fuckin for real”.
It’s basically perfect.
So that was a list of albums I have been listening to. I’ve avoided talking about when these were released or where the bands are from ‘cause I really don’t see how it matters anymore. Part of the magic of music is that it’s here and now, forever.