Every once in a while I’ll pull my head out of my ass and take the time to listen to someone else’s music. Like many other musicians, I spend a lot of time working on my own jams and oftentimes, at the end of the day, the last thing I want to do is listen to music (or sound of any kind). So if I spent serious time with an album, it’s saying a lot, because I am a snobby dick.
SO! Here’s my shitty list, and I don’t care at all if you agree:
1). Revocation – Deathless
First and foremost, the solos on this album are light years ahead of anything else out there. Not incredibly fast all the time, but so much more sophisticated than anything I’ve heard in metal maybe ever. Secondly, the weirdness of the riffs is topped only by how hard they crush, and the drumming is so much fun I sometimes forget there’s other stuff going on. Great lyrics too.
2.) Nili Brosh – A Matter of Perception
Nili is not just a rising star in the instrumental guitar world, she’s a surface-to-air missile. Her melodic hooks are honed to a fine point on this record, which features killer drum performances from Virgil Donati, Marco Minnemann and more. The production is superb, especially considering the diversity of the material which runs the gamut from rock prog metal to jazz. Every song on the album is memorable, and every performance is on point.
3.) Periphery – Clear
Periphery took a big risk with this EP, and I think it paid off in spades. The songs were all very different (as each one was written and “curated” by a different member of the band) but it all still sounds like Periphery. It kind of just shows the cohesion of the band and how perfectly they complement each other. Just like Periphery I and II, whenever I got to the end I just started it over again.
4.) Fallujah – The Flesh Prevails
If Allan Holdsworth ever decided to join a death metal band, this is what it would sound like. Their first album was also awesome, but on this one they really nailed it down. This is what the future sounds like. The drumming is off the charts on this album, and the riffs are very spacey and suspended sounding, with nice ambient layers.
5. Unearth – Watchers of Rule
I’ve been listening to Unearth for a long time. Like, I used to see them play at the local VFW hall for 50 kids, and this is one of their very best. They could have started phoning it in at any point and they’d still be better than most, but they just keep getting better and will be hard pressed to outdo what they did with this record. This one might take the cake for production of the year, and thanks to Mark Lewis at Audiohammer, it sounds like nothing I’ve ever heard.