Things You Might Have Missed 2011

Things You Might Have Missed 2011: Beyond Creation – The Aura

Things You Might Have Missed 2011: Beyond Creation – The Aura

I made comments earlier to the effect of that I’d not heard the 2011 death metal record of the year. Nader Sadek¬†definitely fills in that gap deftly, but Beyond Creation‘s 2011 release The Aura¬†from some obscure Canadian Label that is going on a 6 month vacation so you can’t actually order records from them, should […]

Things You Might Have Missed 2011: Forefather – Last of the Line

Things You Might Have Missed 2011: Forefather – Last of the Line

This little gem fell from Odin’s mighty beard in the waning days of December and since that time of year is so hectic, this may have eluded the attention of many metal-minded folk. Steel Druhm simply cannot abide such a ruinous oversight. Why? Because the U.K.’s Forefather plays such a highly endearing mix of black, viking and folk metal with some power and NWOBHM tossed into the Anglo-Saxon stew. Over the course of five albums, they’ve honed that mix into an insanely catchy, guitar-driven style of epic-infused music. With Last of the Line (Seven Kingdoms Records), that honing continues unabated and this is one sharp ass piece of jagged iron. Though Forefather consists entirely of two brothers (both appear in Folkearth as well), they know exactly how to blend genres and craft tunes that alternate between catchy and heavy, epic and black and most of this material is designed to stick deep in your brainpan. Stylistically touching on Falconer (or Mithotyn to be more exact), Running Wild, Tyr, Crom, Ensiferum and Amon Amarth, they manage to carve out their own identity and I’m betting after hearing some of this stuff, you’ll join me in wondering why Forefather isn’t more of a household name in metal… houses.

Things You Might Have Missed 2011: Mythological Cold Towers – Immemorial

Things You Might Have Missed 2011: Mythological Cold Towers – Immemorial

As under the radar and below the Earth’s crust as a band can get, Brazil’s doom/death stalwarts Mythological Cold Towers may have crafted an album capable of getting them some serious attention. Immemorial is their fourth release (available from Cyclone Empire) and like their previous works, it’s slow to mid-paced, atmospheric doom/death with a fair amount of melody and a smidgen of goth influence. The end result is like a cross between Swallow the Sun, Candlesmass, old Katatonia and really old Paradise Lost (some of this sounds like their Gothic album but with more finesse). If forced to describe their sound in a mere two words, those words would be “fucking” and “morose.” Though not the least bit cheery or hopeful, Immemorial is so well executed and laden with dark atmosphere, it ends up far more addicting than it should. In fact, it reminds me of Loss’s Despond. Both are crushingly doomy, heavy affairs that somehow stick in the head and demand repeat spins (this is way more melodic though). While not reinventing the death/doom wheel, Mythological Cold Towers manages to find that elusive sweet spot between heavy and subtly melodic and proceeds to milk it for all its worth. This is their best material by far and good enough for an honorable mention for 2011’s best, so Steel Druhm feels some shame for getting to it so late. If you were looking for quality doom/death in 2011 and missed this, you should also feel shame!

Things You Might Have Missed 2011: Loch Vostok – Dystopium

Things You Might Have Missed 2011: Loch Vostok – Dystopium

Loch Vostok (ViciSolum Productions) is a Swedish progressive metal band from Uppsala, Sweden. This was enough for me to take a look at it [Tjena grannar!] because, well, there aren’t a ton of metal bands from Uppsala, really. Not that they don’t exist or anything, but they’re just few and far between and most of them aren’t playing progressive metal. Apparently these guys, who I’ve never heard before mind you, formed in 2001 and Dystopium is their fourth record. And yeah, for fans of progressive metal, Swedish death metal and more modern sounding metal might really dig this disc.

Things You Might Have Missed 2011: Nader Sadek – In the Flesh

Things You Might Have Missed 2011: Nader Sadek – In the Flesh

For me 2011 was a year devoid of a death metal record that really knocked it out of the park. While Vomitory produced a pretty damn solid album, and Diocletian and Ulcerate were really good, but they didn’t exactly get me writhing around on the ground in ecstasy like a lot of other people seemed to have experienced it. So when I was digging through my unopened promos, I stumbled upon Nader Sadek’s debut record which came out in 2011 from Season of Mist Records. And let me just say that I wasn’t even mildly prepared for what I was going to get. I’ll give you a hint though: it was 100% win.

Things You Might Have Missed 2011: Immolation – Providence

Things You Might Have Missed 2011: Immolation – Providence

Immolation has always been a band with a distinct sound. When you think about it, being all that authentic in a scene that is widely considered as the “standard” of death metal is quite a tricky feat. Given the necessary technical ability, any group of musicians can shell out a collection of highly down-tuned riffs, a procession of guttural shouts topped off with infinite double bass drumming, but that doesn’t sound too authentic now, does it? But when I think of Immolation, the word “punishing” always comes to mind. These guys have consistently delivered some of the most punishing down-tuned riffs, guttural vocals and pounding drums in the business and this is why they have been highly revered ever since their debut full-length Dawn of Possession came out 20 years ago.

Things You Might Have Missed in 2011: Vektor – Outer Isolation

Things You Might Have Missed in 2011: Vektor – Outer Isolation

As I mentioned in a previous review, I like to think I value originality in music. I have little patience for bands that are merely retreads or knockoffs of other groups. So you can imagine my reaction when, a couple years ago, I stumbled on Black Future, the debut album from Arizona thrashers Vektor. The cover of that album looked like this. For those of you unaware, there is a band called Voivod. They have a logo that looks like this. “What in unholy fuck was going on here,” I thought? Is this some sort of joke? Is Vektor to Voivod what Municipal Waste is to D.R.I.? What possible motivation could a band have to do that? And more importantly, is it any good? Two years later, curiosity finally got the better of me, and I decided to check out Vektor’s newly-released follow up, Outer Isolation.

Trillion Red – Two Tongues EP Review

Trillion Red – Two Tongues EP Review

When a band states that they make “truly unique music” or something to that effect, I’m always skeptical. Most of the time it just means that it a) sucks ass or b) isn’t “unique” at all, but just more of the same. Trillion Red, however, really do have a sound of their own, and it doesn’t suck. While you could just throw them on the huge pile of Neurosis copycats, it really wouldn’t do them justice, because there’s more to their music. It has the typical ingredients of atmospheric sludge, the down-tuned guitars, the huge riffs, the minimalistic drumming, the synths, and, unfortunately, boring and sometimes awkward ambient sections.

Things You Might Have Missed 2011: Balfor – Barbaric Blood

Things You Might Have Missed 2011: Balfor – Barbaric Blood

I’m not sure I’ve made it clear during my vainglorious tenure at Angry Metal Guy Web Industries, but I love me some Immortal. I also tend to appreciate bands that shamelessly mimic Immortal (see Byfrost) because, I really love Immortal and they don’t release twelve albums a year as they should. Therefore, if one follows the logic chain I’m forging, I’m literally forced to love Balfor. These Ukrainian black thrashers are fully onboard the Immortal party bus and their sophomore release Barbaric Blood is a shameless theft of all things Abbath and it’s pretty good to boot (available via Pulverised Records). Making it all the more interesting is the occasional inclusion of some vintage In Flames style guitar shreddery and melodic wankery. Yep, the boys have some chops and when paired with some nifty songwriting and a flair for the dramatic, this becomes one of the better slices of blackened thrash nobody heard this year. So, should you try hearing it? Well, ask yourself this. Are you morbid? Wait, wrong question. Are you into Immortal?