It has been a while since I posted something. My power supply in my computer died a few weeks ago and I only got around to fixing it recently. To my dismay, all the news I had planned to post when I replaced it had been posted so I’ve had to do nothing but sit in silence. Regardless, I am back! Since all the writers seem to be hopping on this bandwagon and not wanting to seem like a dirty hipster I will provide my worthless opinion on my favorites of 2011. Without further ado:
10. Protest the Hero – Dunsel
Scurrilous was easily one of my most anticipated for this year after becoming a die hard Protest the Hero fan in 2009, clocking in probably 700 song plays for the band’s Fortress release alone. To (what seems like) everyone’s dismay, Scurrilous failed to meet the gold standard set by their previous release. Still, there are a few songs on the album that I consider some of their best work to date and this is one of them. “Dunsel” shows a progression in sound for Protest the Hero whilst retaining the flavor of Fortress. And c’mon: the ending is simply too good.
9. Origin – Expulsion of Fury
Origin kicks a lot of ass and their previous album, Antithesis, was probably one of the craziest records I’ve heard in a long time. Needless to say, the guys are at it again and there’s no doubt in my mind they’re going to slay with the new album. What makes this song good for me is that it’s pretty memorable. A lot of kick ass riffs packed into 3 minutes.
8. Obscura – A Transcendental Serenade
Much like Scurrilous, Obscura‘s Omnivium failed to meet the hype. It’s still a great record, but I think I was excited for it too much and as a result was rather disappointed with the outcome. Nevertheless, Obscura did deliver on one track and that is this one. It’s memorable, it’s instrumental and the vocoder section at the end is a chilling conclusion to this track. Oh and dat bass.
7. Blue Stahli – Metamorphosis
While this year has been chalk full of underwhelming releases, there are a few that delivered on all fronts. Blue Stahli‘s self-titled sophomore effort is one of those. It took everything I loved about his fusion of industrial and electronic soundscapes and added vocals to wrap it all up in a phenomenal package. “Metamorphosis” is arguably his most emotional track and – to me – his most catchy.
6. Revocation – Cradle Robber
If you disregard the silly title and lyrics, you get a fresh helping of awesome metal from Revocation. I’m not big on actual thrash metal, but I love when music mashes it together with other genres. This is exactly what they do and what they did with “Craddle Robber.” I’m only hoping this is a sign of things to come from their upcoming release, Chaos of Forms, because this is killer. David Davidson is a monster on the guitar and one of my favorites in modern metal so no doubt we’ll, at the very minimum, see him showcase his talent.
5. Born of Osiris – Shaping the Masterpiece
There’s one band that did a complete 180 and that is Born of Osiris. I despised them and now I am in love. They really sat down and thought about how to improve their sound and they nailed it with such precision. Heavy riffs, dual vocals and chilling synths are prevalent all throughout this magnum opus. My only gripe with it is that it never came together as a cohesive piece, but nonetheless The Discovery is, no doubt, one of the best this year.
4. The Devin Townsend Project – Pandemic
Deconstruction is up to the brim in excellence, but “Pandemic” is the track that sealed the deal for me. It’s a return to the excellence that was Strapping Young Lad and Devin is always going to be Hevy Devy to me so it’s no secret this is my favorite. While the flair has faded as a result of many listens, the intro and outro still manage to give me chills. Everything about this is in your face ‘come at me bro’ material and for that it has earned the #4 spot.
3. Paul Wardingham – Ghost In The Machine
Goddamn! Where did this guy come from? I stumbled upon a YouTube embed to a song by Paul Wardingham a few months ago with the Scar Symmetry RIYL tag. Immediately I fell in love. This is most definitely instrumental Scar Symmetry before they started to suck (R.I.P.). In fact, you almost think Per Nilsson is the shred star here, but it is not! Paul Wardingham is one of the best in the business today and it’s a shame he doesn’t get as much attention as other guys. His debut solo album Assimilate Regenerate has no glaring weak track, as they all manage to be extremely memorable. It’s technical, it’s heavy, it’s melodic. What’s not to like?
2. Uneven Structure – Frost
I always knew these guys were special. While their free EP 8 got some flak for sounding too much like Meshuggah, I saw the talent in these guys. True, they used to sound very similar to Meshuggah, but they still retained their own sound thanks to their brilliant ambiances. “Frost” is no different. Fans of TesseracT should definitely be interested in their upcoming release Februus because this, at least to me, is TesseracT if they were mindblowingly good. I can’t get over how huge their sound is. I’ve been waiting for this album for well over a year and it’s finally going to see the light of day this year on Basick Records.
(Technically this song came out last year, but this one sounds a bit different than the one posted in late December and it actually has a title so deal with it).
1. Last Chance To Reason – Portal
Ignore the intro of the video. It had to be silly to avoid copyright claim by Prosthetic Records. The very end of the song got cut off as well for the same reason.
Did anyone really expect the top track on this list not to be a LCTR song? Level 2 is my album of the year so far and there’s a high chance it’ll stay that way. The whole thing is a modern masterpiece in my eyes. Every song is pure brilliance. It’s everything I love about metal in a 43 minute CD. These guys know how to be technical without sacrificing quality. While every song is top notch, “Portal” is my favorite of them all because of the vocals. Michael Lessard is way too good at what he does. Just listen to the outro!
That wraps up this list. In actuality this list would be covered in songs from the top 4, but I didn’t want to use the same band twice. Lots and lots of good music so far this year and more to come!
And yes I realize I talked more about the albums than the actual songs. Come at me, bro.