Rather than doing a "top 5" list of my favorite albums from this year, I decided to instead pick a top 5 of the most "notable" albums in my opinion (whatever that means.)
1.) As the World Bleeds - Theocracy: This album blew me away when I first heard it, I loved their previous work "Mirror of Souls" and looked forward to the release of this album and I was not disappointed. Theocracy have shown that they deserve to be held in high esteem with any and all self proclaimed fans of power metal. Their lyrics are overtly Christian but written in an intelligent manner, negating any excuse for you to not listen to this band do to their lyrical themes. I honestly believe that this band is on par with power metal's most well known contributors and deserves more attention.
2.) Communication Lost - Wolverine: "Communication Lost" is my first experience with the band "Wolverine" and I have some mixed feelings about it. I really like the atmosphere of this album, it is calm and soothing but dark enough to remind you that it is a metal album. What I don't like about the album is the fact that there isn't a single memorable riff to be found on its entire 70 minute playing time (that is a slight exaggeration.) Everything on this album flows together really well, but there aren't enough moments that grab your attention long enough to leave a lasting impression. I also think that at least 20 minutes of music could be removed from this album as it is already way too long (the 10 minutes of pointless intro and outro come to mind immediately.) I would recommend this album to anyone who considers themselves a fan of "Green Carnation." This band has the potential to release something amazing and I will definitely check out their next album.
3.) Paragon of Dissonance - Esoteric: "Esoteric" have picked up where they left off with "The Maniacal Vale" and have released another 100 minute long 2 disc album with 4 songs on "disc one" and 3 songs on "disc two." I loved the previous album and I love this album even more. "Esoteric" are still at the top of the Funeral Doom genre and still continue to raise the bar. This album is progressive in the truest sense of the word, every "riff" on this album is transitional. Each note and cord flows into the next like a slow stream, one idea effortless flows into the next. None of the songs really have distinct sections like in most doom metal but rather transition from a beginning to a conclusion in a "stream of consciousness" style song writing, it is easy to tell that a tremendous amount of effort was put into this and it paid off.
4.) Parasignosis - Mitochondrion: Probably the most unique death metal album I have ever heard. This is pure musical chaos in a cohesive, smooth and flowing form. This is pure dissonant beauty. At no point in this album did I have any idea what would happen next, but at no point did I ever feel like a riff or passage was unnecessary (aside from the untitled tracks and overlong outro.) This album really makes me think of the Funeral Doom band "Tyranny," the atmosphere on "Parasignosis" gives me the same overwhelming sensation as "Tides of Awakening." If you dig weird shit like "Portal" you should probably listen to this band daily.
Iconoclast - Symphony X: They are back, with their heaviest album to date. I am sure a lot of long time fans are unhappy with the change in direction but it is a trend that has been going on since "Twilight in Olympus." Speaking of "TIO" this album's lyrics are essentially an expanded version of the song "Church of the Machine" and somehow manage to not be totally retarded. If you are sick of boring, fruity sounding power metal, buy this album. I recommend the 2 disc set. Every song on this album is essential, despite its obtuse length. BEST ALBUM OF THE YEAR, BUY THIS!
Happy New Year!
Posted by Curt