\m/(~_~)\m/ Bring the Metal! \m/(~_~)\m/

Oldie but Great...ie.

I don't know if it's the quality of the recording or just the guy singing in the style of the time, but I feel like I've heard them vocals before. Of course, it's more that it's similar to enough stuff I heard from the era. Still, kind of neat, and curious if the song will be figured out.

Oddly enough, this reminded me of a band I couldn't remember/find for a while. When I was a freshman in College I ended up digging around for all kinds of new power metal, with Dragon Force's Valley of the Damned being one of the albums I discovered at the time. However, I also found the website for a Japanese power metal band called Wizard's Hymn that used art of Gandalf for their demo tape. They seemed to vanish for a while, but I guess it's because they got a record deal and... I dunno, just couldn't find anything of them for a while, but here's the song I first found by them.

Definitely early-aughts power metal.

So coincidentally, my friend Steve and I were discussing old songs you'd completely forgotten about, or obscure stuff that just pops up on his Spotify these days. So he asked me for something obscure, and I decided to go with the band "Dungeon". Couldn't find it! So I decided to seek YouTube for a link for him since we got some similar taste, and... lo and behold, I discover that the band "ended" in 2005, but the original founder of the band formed a new group with the drummer called LORD, and they basically remastered or rerecorded all their old Dungeon stuff.

I mentioned how Wizard's Hymn reminded me of that era of early-to-mid-aughts power metal, and part of that is because they sounded like the sort of artist LMB would have signed. LMB's biggest act was basically Rhapsody (before they were Rhapsody of Fire), though they also had a few other decent bands under their wing. The problem was they also had a bunch of bands that didn't last longer than one album, didn't always have more than a single good track, and just seemed to grab anyone that was vaguely power metal. They sort of vanished before 2010 for reasons I'm unaware of though could speculate, with some of the artists swiftly migrating to other labels like Century Media or Nuclear Blast.

Dungeon was one of the better bands, though, that were certainly power metal but still felt more "traditional" rather than chasing synthesized symphonies. I really dug their Rise to Power album, and this was a nice little rediscovery. I'm looking forward to digging into both what I'm nostalgic over and what's new to me.

Good way to end the year, I suppose. That, and him sharing The Human Equation by Ayreon with me.

garion333 wrote:

Allegaeon covered Rush. That was another good one.

I generally don't like covers of Rush songs, but their version of Animate was good. Their cover of Subdivisions was decent, too, but the original version of that one is special.

Sludge grrl metal trio. Awesome description. Worth hanging around for the bridge breakdown toward the end.

That song led me to check out their album from this year (Scarlet). Yeah, it's badass. Mevlins meets Kyuss/QoTSA meets Alice in Chains. Sludgy, grungy riffs with some killer femvox overtop. This is my sh*t!

They've got that sludgy switchup/breakdown thing happening throughout. It's great.

Azusa released an album in mid 2020? Where the hell was I?

Ooh loving both of those! Thanks for the recommendations. Added to the ol' playlist.

r013nt0 wrote:

Azusa released an album in mid 2020? Where the hell was I?

Released in April. You were probably hiding under your bed like the rest of us.

I'm not a huge GC fan, as in I still haven't listened to their new album all the way through, but this is a neat way of doing things. Release a 10 minute song and then talk about it for 30 minutes. Wish we saw more of this stuff.

I assume by now Google or whoever may have pushed this bit at yall, but Jon Schaffer of Iced Earth was involved in the Storming of the Capital.

Naturally, I'm not a fan of what he/they did, but you gotta admit it was pretty metal.

I’d been a fan since high school, late 90s. No more, too bad.

New track from Thy Catafalque

Dammit, thought it was a new song, it's just a new video. The song was on the last album.

They do have a "new" EP that came out in November, Zápor.

How about a top list? For me, 2020 was an incredible year for metal. Many of my favorite bands released new albums, and just about all of them stood out. There were also many new bands (some just new to me, and some to the world) that released amazing metal in 2020. It’s astounding and I think says a lot about the genre that even during a pandemic and difficult lockdowns these musicians were able to work together to put out some really fantastic albums. Since there was so much good metal I decided not to stick to just a top 10, so this will end up being every album from last year that made me come back for more. I’m going to break it up into two or three posts so it’s not too much all at once. Also I won’t put a big description under every one since it’ll make this post even more unbearable, but I will try to put a video or a link to Bandcamp at least and spoiler the youtubes. Maybe someone reading this will find something new they love and will throw the band a few bucks to help during these terrible concert-less times. These aren’t in any order, except for the top spot. These also lean heavily towards black and death metal since it’s what I like the most, but there’s a good smattering of other stuff as well. Part 2 coming soon!

Havukruunu - Uinuos Syömein Sota
Out of all of these, if I were to pick a number one just from sheer number of listens and musical enjoyment, it would be Uinuos Syömein Sota by Havukruunu, from Finland. In my opinion this is the best metal album of the year, just about perfect from beginning to end. It takes some of the best qualities of black metal and combines it with the melodic fun of folk metal in a way that makes them stand out. Their last album, back from 2018, was one of my favorites that year, and this one goes better in every way including, importantly, production. Havukruunu have easily become one of my favorite bands of all time.

Spoiler:

Black Curse - Endless Wound
Black Curse is a supergroup of members from Blood Incantation, Khemmis, Spectral Voice, and Primitive Man, and it actually sounds like what you would think that sounds like - heavy, punishing death metal from some of the best in the business right now.

Spoiler:

Karg - Traktat
Straight top-notch old school melodic black metal from Austria.

Spoiler:

Dearth - To Crown All Defoulment
Awesome death metal debut album from Oakland, California. For me they really bring to mind Tomb Mold and the like.

Spoiler:

The Spirit - Cosmic Terror
Modern black metal from Germany. After the EP they released in 2019 I was super excited for this one, and they did not disappoint.

Spoiler:

Ulcerate - Stare Into Death and Be Still
New Zealand’s own Ulcerate released this one back in April. I would call them post-death metal, and this is probably one of the heaviest and densest albums in the list. Wall of noise with style and amazing riffs. I even bought the t-shirt. I'm wearing it right now in fact!

Spoiler:

Vengeful Spectre - Vengeful Spectre
This is Vengeful Spectre’s first full-length album, and one of the few metal bands I know that hail from China (check out Zuriaake and Porenut for two other greats). They’ve got some black metal going on, some death, some lighter parts, and even some traditional instruments as well. Picked up the t-shirt for this one too! The album art is amazing and really evokes Dark Souls for me.

Spoiler:

Ossaert - Bedehuis
Four tunes of black metal face-melting from The Netherlands. This is their first record, and if it’s any indication, they are a band to watch for in the future. The guitarists are just beasts.

Spoiler:

Giver - Sculpture of Violence
This album just plain kicks ass. It’s really just straight heavy metal out of Germany without any fluff at all - one of those head-banging romps that gets the place moving. The title track tells you everything you need to know:

Spoiler:

Marrasmieli - Between Land and Sky
Some beautiful old school black metal out of Finland. This is their only release other than an EP, and certainly another band to keep track of for the future. Finland is just killing it with the black metal releases these days.

Spoiler:

Aara - En Ergô Einai
A fantastic second album from Switzerland’s Aara. This is the kind of black metal that brings you straight to the frigid north, watching the aurora borealis on a desolate winter’s night.

Spoiler:

Wake - Devouring Ruin
Blackened death with some grind and I could say even some post metal leanings out of Alberta, Canada.

Spoiler:

Afsky - Ofte jeg drømmer mig død
More fabulous melodic and thought-provoking black metal, this time from Denmark.

Spoiler:

Gaerea - Limbo
Portugal’s Gaerea released this fantastic follow-up to 2018’s Unsettling Whispers, bringing more of their blackened sound and heavy melodies. They continue to kick ass.

Spoiler:

Uada - Djinn
I think at this point you probably already know whether you like the kind of melodic black metal that Portland, Oregon’s Uada puts out or not. I happen to love these guys, and I might go as far as saying this is their best album so far. They were one of the last bands I saw in-person before the pandemic killed live shows, and it was a fantastic performance. When concerts happen again, I’ll be right there to see them another time, too!

Spoiler:

I've got a list I made a while ago, but haven't bothered collecting tracks and the like. Lazy.

That Ossaert track was dope, if awfully repetitious over the 8 min playtime. (Uada is better at this.) They were absolutely playing with a ton of energy. Tighten that song structure up, or vary it more, and you're right, they're onto something.

Awesome list d4mo! Here are my 10 metal(ish) favorites from 2020:

Reluctant Hero - Killer be Killed
Fluid Existential Inversions - Intronaut
Lamb of God - Lamb of God
Quadra - Sepultura
Enlightened in Eternity - Spirit Adrift
Phanerozoic II: Mesozoic/Cenozoic - The Ocean Collective
Inlet - Hum
Child Soldier: Creator of God - Greg Puciato
Ohms - Deftones
Ravening Iron - Eternal Champion

10 non-metal(ish) albums I had on repeat:

Miss Anthropocene - Grimes
Song Machine, Season One - Gorillaz
Conspiravision: Deus Ex Remixed - Alexander Brandon/Michiel van den Bos
After Hours - The Weeknd
Hades: Original Soundtrack - Darren Korb
Tenet: Original Film Score - Ludwig Goransson
We Are Chaos - Marylin Manson
Power Up - AC/DC
Gigaton - Pearl Jam
Run the Jewels 4 - Run the Jewels

Special shout-out to Prince's Sign O' the Times Reissue. Amazing set!

Black Curse might have had the only new album I recall listening to in 2020, and I liked it quite a bit.

Jon Schaffer turned himself in. Apparently he was using bear mace on cops. So, yeah, he's gonna need a good lawyer.

Interesting article from Kim Kelly about neo-nazis and metal: "What covering heavy metal taught me about spotting Nazis"

She mentions that "dammit!" moment when you find out an artist you thought made some good stuff turned out to be an awful person. It's happened to me a couple times now unfortunately. Can't say I ever listened to Iced Earth so I guess I missed that one at least.

New album in March

Imperial Triumphant are clearly good musicians, but I can't get past their bass player doing scales as if that's good songwriting. It really ruins the album for me. I simply can't get into it.

New Seether video.

New Orbit Culture single already.

Yup, they put it on the deluxe version of their last album. I'm not a fan when their vocals go full Hetfield, but I do rather like the band.

Missed this one late last year. "An album suitable for 2020" by Jeff LARSteffen called Stop Being Nice..

I'm so glad the metal community is continuing to take folks to task.