In this digital age we live, purchasing albums is no longer needed since we have media such as Spotify, YouTube, and Bandcamp. I'm still old school in the sense that I still like to get my hands on physical copies of albums, but with the budget of a college student, I cannot afford much which forces me to really consider how much I enjoy an album before purchase it. In light of this, my top ten albums are all releases that I already (or am planning to) own on CD/tape/vinyl. This list is purely subjective and personal. I did not look at album sales or billboard placements to help me decide how to rank each album. You will notice how some of these albums do not have a physical release, but once they do I would purchase them in a heartbeat.
Top 10 Albums
10. Various – The Slaughtered Lamb (8-Way Split)
I'm not necessarily trying to self-promote myself, but is there anything wrong with being proud of your own work? You can read more about this album HERE.
9. Cease – Humanity EP
You can read what I think about their demo HERE. What these guys are doing (I think) is rather unique by how they combine death metal and hardcore. I will look forward to what they will do in the future.
8. Omery Rising – Lady Snow (Single)
I found “Lady Snow” at a local record store and decided the buy it, which the store owner really approved. She explained how these guys are almost as talented as a lot of the big name heavy metal bands of the 80’s, despite only being in their early twenties. After I listened to the single quite a few times, I concur with what she said. This album was definitely worth purchasing. My only problem with the release is how the band hired someone to track vocals, because I think it gives the band a false image since the vocalist won’t be doing shows with them or tracking vocals again anytime soon. I just hope they find a vocalist soon.
7. Darkspace – Dark Space III I
I’ll be honest, I had to try to like this album. I very much prefer their previous full-length rather than this album, but after listening to it I realized how it is still a solid release showcasing the pure Darkspace signature on black metal. Sure the music is a little over-polished for my taste and the obviously programmed drums can be annoying at times, however “Dark Space III I” still has that nice ability to transport me out somewhere else, somewhere spacey.
6. Iron Savior – Rise of the Hero
I’ll admit I don’t know enough about this band’s previous albums, but I thoroughly enjoy “Rise of the Hero!” This album is no Gloryhammer release, but I like the solid guitarwork and catchy choruses. One truly iconic aspect of this album is how they ace “Dance with Somebody,” originally written by Mando Diao.
5. Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha – Tales from the Endoplasmic Ridiculum
It’s really nice seeing bands that still follow Carcass’s early style. This guy isn’t breaking any musical ground with his demo, but I like how he is continuing the old-school sound of gore-deathgrind in a way not too many bands are doing nowadays. He is able to pull off his Carcass-worship without being a complete copycat, and maintains a unique sound. I really hope he invests more time into this project and releases a follow-up.
4. GRIND.bot – object.Oriented
I am an unashamed fan of cybergrind and some forms of electronic music, but I struggle finding bands that pull off the styles well. The moment I learned about Grind.BOT I knew I would enjoy it. Computer takeover and other cyber themes are subjects I really enjoy. I actually bought the album as soon as I could. I do not listen to the album as often as my #1 on this list, but it’s still extremely enjoyable cyber-deathgrind.
3. Xothist – Simulacrum
I wrote a review on Daniel’s debut demo two years ago mentioning how I expected good things from his project. From the first beat of the drum, I knew I was in for a ride with this album. To a casual listener, this album will sound like harshnoise (which is genre by the way), but if you take your time to close your eyes and immerse yourself in the cacophony, you will find yourself somewhere else, far away from your daily troubles and struggles in life. The guitar work will speak to your soul and the ambience will soothe and guide your heart.
2. A Hill to Die Upon – Holy Despair
The Christian blackened death metal titans released yet another good album. I mainly enjoy this album because of “Unyielding Anguish” and “Let the Ravens Have My Eyes,” which are outstanding black metal songs. This album is not their best release, but was still definitely good enough for me to actually purchase the CD. Michael, the lyricist and drummer, is my second favorite lyricist (second only to Byron of Bal-Sagoth) and managed to improve is writing skills. His verses now have rhymes and sound a lot better than some of his previous lyrics. My only regret with this band is how the guitars just don’t match the talent of Michael’s drumming or Adam’s vocals. Hopefully their next album will have more leads and harmonies.
1. Vaer – For So Many Reasons
You can read my thoughts on this incredible release here. Out of all the albums released this year, this is the only one I’ve listened to beginning to end countless times. This album will never get old for me, and has become my archetype for how I want atmospheric black metal to sound. Recently, I have been browsing through Metal Archives searching for a band that can match the brilliance of Vaer. I have not found very many bands at the same level!
Amaranthe – Massive Addictive
Cannibal Corpse – A Skeletal Domain
HammerFall – (r)Evolution
Gridlink – Longhena
Ne Obliviscaris – Citadel
Allegaeon – Elements of the Infinite
Torture Droid – Evil from the Beyond
– The Vociferator (Benjamin Kosanke)