Wednesday, 22 December 2010

My Top 10 Albums Of 2010

It was particularly difficult to chose a Top 10 this year, not because of the great abundance of awesome albums rather than the lack of. Of course there were some amazing albums out, by new bands and old, but most were average or forgettable.

The criteria I used to select my Top 10 was their initial first impact on me and the length of time these albums were in my stereo. I also gave points for uniqueness and providing the metal world with something new.

So, here goes. Feel free to comment and give your Top 10. But remember, this is MY list! Anything (in your opinion) which has been left out has been done so for good reason! In no particular order:

1) Killing Joke - 'Absolute Dissent'
2) Electric Wizard- 'Black Masses'
3) Kylesa - 'Spiral Shadow'
4) Enslaved - 'Axioma Ethica Oudini'
5) Ihsahn - 'After'
6) Cathedral - 'The Guessing Game'
7) Watain - 'Lawless Darkness'
8) Burzum - 'Belus'
9) Ghost - 'Opus Eponymous'
10) Devin Townsend - 'Addicted'

So there ya have it! My Top 10 albums of 2010!

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Album Review: Kylesa - 'Spiral Shadows'

Spiral Shadow
Review Guide:
1-      Pile of w**k
2-      Average
3-      Good
4-      Excellent
5-      Sabbath-style classic
The term ‘selling out’ has always aggrieved me somewhat. It simply means more people are buying and listening to bands music, and to me, as long as the music doesn’t suffer or become watered down then ‘selling out’ doesn’t seem like such a bad thing. Georgian band Kylesa have, since their inception in 2001 they have been a band lurking in the sub-genre where they were slightly restricted with what music they could produce. When this happens, you need to spread your creative wings and learn from other styles of music.
In their last album, ‘Static Tensions’ (2009), Kylesa decided to incorporate psychedelic elements and they had finally found their mix of sounds. Fast forward to October 2010 and ‘Spiral Shadow’ and you have a band that has improved drastically. The production on this album is touching on perfection; with the duel drumming utilised to really give a sense of space and grandiose. The guitar sound is crisp and sharp, and the vocals (particularly those of Laura Pleasants) really stand out. The rifts in opener ‘Tired Climb’ hit you like being punched on the nose by The Hulk, whilst ‘Don’t Look Back’ is a gorgeous song reminiscent of bands like Pixies. ‘Spiral Shadow’ is definitely one of my top 5 albums of the year.

Album Review: Cradle of Filth - 'Darkly, Darkly, Venus Aversa'

Cradle of Filth: 'Darkly, Darkly, Venus Aversa'
Review Guide:
1-      Pile of w**k
2-      Average
3-      Good
4-      Excellent
5-      Sabbath-style classic
Cradle of Filth are a band who always provoke strong reactions from lovers and haters alike. With a back catalogue spanning almost 20 years, COF have changed, honed and perfected their gothic/vampire sound and image fantastically. That doesn’t mean that there have been a few, ahem, hiccups, along the way. Who can forget the dreadful ‘Thornography’ - with the vomit inducing cover of ‘Temptation’ to the frankly dire ‘Dirge Inferno’? I personally thought that COF had lost their edge, and shifted more and more towards mainstream attention. However, in 2008 they produced the epic ‘Godspeed on the Devil’s Thunder’; which turned out to be one of my musical highlights of that year. Now they have returned with ‘Darkly, Darkly...’ can they outshine ‘Godspeed...’ or with this simply fall by the wayside like ‘Thornography’?
Well, I’m pleased to report that the answer is the former. ‘Darkly, Darkly...’ proves that Dani and Co can still effortlessly produce great rifts, yet have big, melodramatic and over-the –top extreme gothic/metal songs. The idea behind this album is the feminine response to ‘Godspeed...’s overly masculine tones, although this ‘Darkly, Darkly...’ does not feel like a carbon copy of ‘Godspeed...’ Echoing ‘Cruelty and the Beast’, this album centres on the supposed first wife of Adam (Lilith). As ever with any COF album the production is excellent, although it hasn’t been over-produced like so many of their previous albums so it sounds rawer and faster. No more is this apparently than in the opener ‘The Cult of Venus Aversa’ and ‘One Foul Step From The Abyss’, with the  thrash-style speed not slowing the pace until ‘The Persecution Song’ (which is incidentally one of my favourite songs on the album). This, thankfully, is COF at their best and is most definitely signalling a return to form and that they are here to stay.