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 Lists
01.08.15 Mmxiv Review 06.30.14 2014 Midterm Review
01.13.14 My Favorite Records Of 2013 01.13.14 Top 10 Concerts Of 2013

My Favorite Records Of 2013

My favorite records of the year. There's no real order 'til about #13. Enjoy
38Young Hunter
Embers at the Foot of Dark Mountain


Young Hunter returns to 2013 with an impressive EP. Embers at the Foot of Dark.
Mountain sees the stoner/desert rock treading even darker territory than before
across the 3 tracks on this EP. The opening tracks starts with a ominous drone before
some vocals and wicked harmonized guitars come in. Then the whole band comes in
and the enter desert jam that as groovy as it is ghostly. The second track starts off
with a really western guitar lick that dances. The band comes in with some wicked
sound organ and guitar lines that just add to the desert feeling. The song keeps a
pulsating rhythm throughout, giving you the feeling that you?re on a getaway train.
The final song on the EP is a bit looser than the first, centered around a drum jam
that was a blast to hear when I saw these guys last year. It still has an overall dark
vibe, but it also has some vibrant clean guitar licks and an overall uplifting vibe.
Young Hunter proves on this EP that they?re the desert rock band to watch out for.
Grab this EP at their bandcamp for name your price.
37The World is a Beautiful Place...
Whenever, If Ever


Every so often, you see an album cover that really intrigues you and you have to
know the kind of music that is accompanied by such an album cover. I felt that with
the cover for Whenever, If Ever. The image of the young man jumping into a lake, to
me, symbolizes an attempt to preserve the youth that a lot of us try to preserve as
we age. That itself can be a metaphor for the recent 90?s emo-revival that The World
Is A Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid To Die is currently leading. The World Is
A Beautiful Place is a 8-piece rock band out of Connecticut. The band incorporates
usual rock band instruments, but also incorporate plenty of synthesizers, trumpet
and cello, which I absolutely love hearing in rock music. The band fuses elements of
90?s emo, current indie rock, and post-rock crescendos and climaxes. The product is
stunningly beautiful and full of raw emotion. Tracks often buildup and transition into
each other as if they were one seamless piece of music. All the vocalists sound
complete sincere and the multiple vocal lines going on at once really add another
layer to the music. A lot of the songs are slow brewing post-rock tunes that explode
into really cheery sounding tunes that are really youthful and a ton of fun to listen to.
The album captures every emotion that?s connected to being young and discovering
your place in the world and trying to leave the biggest impact you can. If you?re into
90?s emo and post-rock, definitely check this album out.
36Witherscape
The Inheritance


If you were bummed about Opeth turning into dadrock, then fear no longer: there?s a
new band that can take Opeth?s place as Sweden?s resident progressive death metal
band. The new title goes to Dan Swan??s newest project, Witherscape. If you didn?t
know, Dan has worked with Mikael Akerfeldt, both in death metal band, Bloodbath.
This is the first Dan Swan? project I?ve heard, and I have to say I really like what he
did on the record. The Inheritance features two musicians: Swan? on vocals,
keyboards, and drums and Swedish musician, Ragnar Widerberg on guitar and bass.
The alum is full of sounds, with lots of acoustic guitar passages, awesome progged
out moments, and crushing death metal riffs, and atmospheric passages. Dan Swan?
also showcases his vocal ability with one of the meanest death growls I?ve heard and
some awesome clean vocals. Everything on the album sounds great. If you?re
looking for awesome progressive death metal that sounds like a mix of good Opeth
and old 70?s progressive rock, this is what you need.
35Windhand
Soma


If you?re in need of tasty stoner, riffs, look no futher. Windhand?s major label debut,
Soma, is chockfull of tasty, monstrous fuzzed out riffs, a la Electric wizard, that will
hit harder than a semi. Another thing I?d like to note about Windhand is that listening
to them was the first time I legit couldn?t tell the vocalist was a woman. Even
listening to the record now, I can?t tell the person delivering these psychedelic vocal
melodies was a woman until the 4th track, Evergreen, because it?s an acoustic jam.
That?s right, there?s an acoustic jam on this record and it?s layered with beautiful,
soaring vocals over a sorrowful chord progression that never changes, but never
really gets old. All the other songs on this album are heavily distorted and hit you in
the face with mouth watering riffs that sound like they were manifested from of an
occult ritual. The only problem with the album is the last track, Boleskine, is 30
minutes long, and it really doesn?t need to be. The last riff last like 15 minutes, which
is a bit excessive. But other than that, this album is awesome. Monster riffs,
psychedelic vocals, and even more monster riffs. If you like Electric Wizard, there?s
no reason you shouldn?t have already heard this.
34Vhol
Vhol


Every now and again you?ll hear that a few great musicians are working on a
collaborative project and you can?t help but be fucking stoked. That?s what I felt
when I heard that members of Yob, Hammers Of Misfortune, and Ludicra were
getting together for a record. Vhol is a black metal/crust project featuring Mike
Scheidt on vocals, John Cobbett on guitar, Aesop Dekker on drums, and Sigrid Sheie
on bass. Vhol?s music is absolutely face-melting. Along with the aggressive sounds
coming from the black metal and crust punk influences, you also get sounds inspired
by traditional metal and power metal. John Cobbett?s song-writing ability completely
shines all over the record, and he proves yet again that he?s one of the best the Bay
Area has to offer. All the songs on here are complete rockers and highly melodic.
You?ll find yourself whistling or humming snippets of the album all day after giving it
a listen. Aesop?s drumming is on point as ever and Sigrid?s bass playing shines
through on plenty moments on the record. Not to forget, Mike?s vocals, which go
from his powerful belt to more aggressive shouting. This album is just a really fun
ride that truly kicks ass. If you want some awesome black metal/crust with
traditional metal influences, check this record out.
33TTNG
13.0.0.0.0


When most people think of math rock, they probably think of really sporadic rock
music with shredding guitars and ADD drumming, kind of like Hella, but that?s not the
kind of math rock present on This Town Needs Gun?s new record. TTNG are a trio,
consisting of a guitarist, bass guitarist/vocalist, and drummer from Oxford, UK, that
take the technical musicianship of math rock and combines it with the song-writing of
emo and indie rock. I say bass guitarist because the instrument the bassist/vocalist
is playing is called a ?Bass VI?, meaning it?s an instrument that?s strung like a guitar,
but is tuned down on octave, so it sounds like a bass. It?s a really interesting
instrument and they get some cool sounds from it. Most of the sounds and tones on
the record are clean. The songs are all mid-pace, calm and pretty soothing actually.
The vocalist has a really nice clean singing voice, in kind of a middle range. The
hooks on these songs are usually pretty catchy, and the bright sounds on the record
do put on smile on my face even though the songs aren?t necessarily happy
themselves. Overall, This Town Needs Guns presents a really interesting take on
math rock with this record, keeping the atmosphere calm, cool, and collected while
still showcasing impressive musician ship.
32suicideyear
japan


If you have any clue as to what kind of music I like, you?d know that I?m very much
into groovy stoner metal and really atmospheric, ethereal forms of metal as well. So
the idea that there?s a style of hip-hop production that?s heavy on groove and
atmospheric goodness, while retaining hip-hop trademarks I love like soul samples,
sporadic hi-hats and booming 808 bass drums would naturally excite me. And that?s
what I?ve discovered thanks to Louisiana producer, suicideyear. I?m totally aware
that cloud rap stylings have been around for quite some time, but this was my first
exposure to the style and I?m really digging the material. Almost all the lead
melodies on these tracks sound like they could belong club bangers, especially with
the heavy use of trap-rap style hi-hats and bombastic 808s, but the keyboard sounds
suicideyear uses are really calm and soothing, so it gives the songs a really chilled-
out vibe. When I hear these songs I can?t help but kick my feet up, relax and bob my
head. Maybe do a little cookin?. If you?re into cloud rap, definitely check this out.
31Rin Tin Tiger
Splinter Remedies


San Francisco alt folk-trio Rin Tin Tiger are a band I discovered my first year at
SJSU. Thought they?re from San Francisco, they frequently play San Jose and they
quickly became my favorite group that?s a part of the indie rock scene that?s
happening in the south bay. Their style is a unique take on folk-rock, playing a wide
array of material from folky love ballads, up-beat dance-along rock songs, summer
time tunes and even some heavy folk-rock tunes. And all of the songs have a really
strong lyrical center and focus, with topics that vary from past loves, social
commentary, and other topics that I haven?t spent enough time deciphering to get.
The musicianship on the album is great. Guitarist/vocalist/harmonica-shredder Kevin
Sullivan gives some of is best, guitar and vocals performances on this record, bassist
Sean Sullivan gives shows how diverse a bass player is, from laying down moderate
bass tracks on the softer tunes and laying down the stank of tracks like Michelangelo
and Precaution. Overall, you get just about everything you might want from folk-rock
record and more on Splinter Remedies, from ballad tracks like Haunted Now, upbeat
smack downs like Michelangelo, and even a song that shows up djent bands on
dissonance with the track Precaution. If you dig alt rock, indie, or folk, give this a
whirl.
30Raw Geronimo
Dream Fever


Raw Geronimo are a 6-piece rock ?n? roll outfit from LA. The band?s songwriter, Laena
Geronimo, is the daughter of Alan Myers, past Devo drummer. Raw Geronimo
combine elements of alt rock, surf rock, pop, soul and tribal drumming to create
some really cool tunes, ranging from soulful ballads, dance-punk jams and surfed out
rockers. The band is really dynamic with their use of guitars and a bunch of different
kinds of percussion that really add to all of their tribal moments. You wouldn?t think
white folk would make such spiritual sounding tribal jams. They?re not unlike what
you might hear out of a voodoo gathering in the bayous along the Mississippi River.
So with a wide array of sounds to craft some really interesting alt rock tunes, Raw
Geronimo?s Dream Fever is an interesting listen that?ll have you moving no matter
where you are.
29Purson
The Circle And The Blue Door


London psychedelic rock group, Purson, put out a hell of a debut record with, The
Circle and the Blue Door. Band leader, Rosalie Cunningham, has a knack for crafting
together all sorts of cool psychedelic rock tunes and has the voice to go along with it.
If you?ve seen this band?s name paired with occult rock bands, ignore those who tried
to convince you these guys are occult. Purson?s sound focuses more on the circus-y
side of the spectrum of psychedelic rock. There are also a lot of nautical sounds too.
The circus elements comes in a lot of the interesting melodies in Purson?s music, and
there a lot of samples of circus music cut into the music, usually at the end of tracks.
The kinds of tracks range from rocking tunes like Well Spoiled Machine and Leaning
On A Bear, psyched out jams like The Contract, ballad-like tunes like Sailor?s Life?s
Lament and Tragic Catastrophe. The whole record has a retro/nostalgic feel to it
that?s just impeccable. If you need more female fronted psychedelic rock, look no
further, because this is the best this year has to offer.
28Protest the Hero
Volition


After a more than successful crowd funding, Protest the Hero had some big
expectations to fill with their 4th record, Volition. And they did just that. If you don?t
already know, Protest the Hero are a Canadian progressive metal band. Their take
on progressive metal is really technical and highly melodic fast-paced tunes. The
guitar playing could is reminiscent of neo-classical stuff. The musicianship on their
records is always incredible. This time around, it seems that the band has combined
the highly melodic tendencies that were apparent on Scurrilous and combined the
really aggressive elements that were on Fortress and staying true to their original
hardcore punk influences. The album also sees the reintroduction of harsh vocals to
PTH?s music, as it was completely left out on Scurrilous. Another cooling thing about
the record is that it features Chris Adler of Lam of God on drums. You?d almost never
recognize it though because he fits Protest the Hero?s sound so damn well, which only
shows that he?s definitely one of the better drummers in modern metal. The album
also features other cool features from people who donated to their fundraising
campaign. The album also features vocalist Jadea Kelly on a lot of tracks, and she
sounds just as angelic as ever. I was originally worried about this idea but none of
the fan feature sound overwhelmingly mediocre. Another really cool thing I feel they
threw in on the record was the callback to their 2008 hit ?Sequoia Throne? on the
track Animal Bones on this record. Like with every record, this album features a lot
of diversity in the tracks. Songs like Clarity, Plato?s Tripartite, and Underbite are
more on the aggressive side of things, tracks like Mist and A Life Embossed have a
lot of epic tendencies. All the songs features tons of shredding riffs, highly melodic
playing and singing, and are catchy as hell. The only negative thing I felt about this
record is that it wasn?t until a 4 listens or so that I felt some tracks definitely stuck
out more than others, but that just means every track is about the same level of
badass. If you like progressive metal, check it out.
27Lord Dying
Summon The Faithless


Portland sludge metal outfit, Lord Dying, bring some havoc with their Relapse
Records debut, Summon The Faithless. The 4 piece borrows heavily from early High
On Fire and?. That?s it, really. Lord Dying sounds like early 2000?s High On Fire with
modern production. Not to rip on them or anything, because there are some
seriously badass tunes on the record. Hence why I even bothered to list them in what
I see as some of the better records of the year. The tones are great, the riffs are in-
your-face brutal and some of the guitar work is really impressive. If you?re looking
for straightforward sludge/stoner metal, these are your guys.
26Leucosis
Leucosis


Leucosis are an atmospheric black/doom metal band out of Santa Cruz, California.
Their self-released, self-titled album is full of great atmospheric black/doom metal.
The six tracks are all pretty long, the shortest being 9:22. The album is full of doom
jams that slowly eat their way into your brain and intense black metal passages that
capture some of that lo-fi feeling but the music is still easy to make out. The music
really builds on atmosphere and creates some soundscapes that border beautiful and
horrific. The album is full of melancholic riffs that build and explode into epic riffs that
you can?t help but bob your head to. The only real problem with this album is its
length. It?s 68 minutes long, and to be frank, relays a little too much on repetition to
get the point across. There are some absolutely great moments like the intro to
Anaesthesia, the intense black metal passage in Taiga and the guitar sweep driven
doom outro of Aponea. But a lot of the tracks do sound kind of similar, so at times it
can drag if you aren?t 100% vibing on it. But if you?re looking for awesome
atmospheric black metal with elements of doom, dig this.
25Kylesa
Ultraviolet


Savannah sludge metal veterans, Kylesa, presented their 6th(!) studio album this
year with Ultraviolet. As alluded to on their previous release, Spiral Shadow, Kylesa
has continued substituting the in-your-face, hardcore vibes that?s apparent on their
earlier releases with more experimental, psychedelic vibes. Singing covered in
reverb is now more prominent than ever, the tones are features just as much
modulation as they do fuzz and distortion, and overall, most of the songs are a lot
more relaxed, and aren?t nearly as aggressive as their older material. Even so,
Kylesa still retains heavy, trudging riffs (Unspoken, We?re Taking This) and fast-
paced face melting tunes (What Does It Take, Vulture?s Landing), they just throw in
elements of psychedelic rock and early noise rock to give their already signature
sound a new dimension and a new appeal. If psyched-out sludge metal sounded
appealing to you, definitely give Ultraviolet a spin.
24Intronaut
Habitual Levitations


Stoner/jazz/post-metal giants Intronaut?s new album, Habitual Levitations, sees the
band delving deeper in their more laid back, soothing sound. Since the introduction
of clean vocals on their last record, it seems that Intronaut has only furthered that
gesture, with their being almost no harsh vocals present on Habitual Levitations, but
that doesn?t take away from their ability to write some of the gnarliest riffs in post-
metal. The heavy moments on this record aren?t as unrelenting as on their first
couple of records, but they still hit hard, and they?re used brilliantly in juxtaposition
with the jazzier, clean parts of the songs. Now-a-days, Intronaut seems to have a
really clear sense of direction with the material, building some of these songs up in
ways similar to post-rock bands like Godspeed You! Black Emperor, adding onto
previous ideas and ending the songs with climactic conclusions. But there are some
songs that do end with jazzed out jams, filled with Joe Lester?s amazing bass playing,
like Harmonicon and Milk Leg. On this album, Intronaut has abandoned the use of
harsh vocals, but has retained every aspect that makes this band so special. Riffs
are still heavy as hell, the clean jazzy parts are still angelic and post-rock like
crescendos are just awesome. The only difference is that they?ve decided to focus
more on the cleaner (strong emphasis on ?er?) post-rock parts for song-writing than
filthy sludge. If you?re looking for awesome post-metal that gets jazzy, you need
Intronaut.
23In Solitude
Sister


Like many Scandinavian metal acts, In Solitude embrace the darker things in life.
Unlike a lot of Scandinavian metal acts, In Solitude?s music is actually haunting and
chills the listener to the bone. Originally seen as one of many Mercyful Fate worship
bands coming out of Europe, In Solitude presents a new sound on Sister. This time
around, they have a more gothic rock sound, bearing similarities to Samhain, along
with some post-punk sounds as well. Throughout the record, the young band crafts a
bunch of sinister rock tunes with infectious hooks, eerie vocals, and killer riffs. There
are still elements of their earlier sound present on the album, strongly heard on the
track Horses In The Ground, but overall In Solitude does a masterful job of
mastering a new style of music and still honing in past influences to create a
horrifically beautiful record. If a mix of 70?s metal and gothic rock sounds awesome
to you, you need to hear this record.
22Grayceon
Pearl & The End Of Days


San-Francisco prog/sludge trio Grayceon has one of the weirdest line-up's you'll hear of, featuring a
guitarist who doesn't use a pick, cellist/vocalist, and a drummer. The most interesting
thing about their sound is that the cello takes the roll of the bass, giving low-end, but
is still provides a lot of the bands melody. Grayceon expanded further in this
dynamic with a monster of an EP this year: featuring two tracks; one clocking in at
10 minutes, and the other at 17. Pearl and The End Of Days sees Grayceon stepping
into more aggressive territory, but the band still retains their quirky prog, highly
melodious and sludgy tendencies. Pearl starts off with an ominous intro, the blasts
into some fairly thrashy goodness for a bit, before going into the typical Grayceon
sludge jam. End Of Days is an epic piece, that features every signature Grayceon
you know and, with a meaner tone than ever before. This EP has some really badass
material, so if cello based sludge metal sounds cool to you, get this one now.
21Earl Sweatshirt
Doris


There was a lot of anticipation for this record. Shortly after 15-year-old Earl released
his 2010 mixtape, EARL, he was sent to a boarding school in Samoa. After about two
years, he returned in 2012, and since then people have been highly anticipating
Earl?s debut album. After a year of waiting, Doris finally dropped and showed that
Earl?s rapping skills have greatly improved from his already impressive mixtape. The
album has an overall dark vibe, using really spacious beats that focus on low end
and a lot the songs feature really dark imagery, but it?s not as childish what?s
presented in his earlier work. Earl?s use of assonance is as apparent as ever and his
word play is extremely impressive. Tracks like Burgundy and Chum give us a window
to Earl?s emotions and perspective of what he?s been feeling since his return. Other
tracks like Centurion are reminiscent of his older work, getting a little graphic. Other
tracks like Whoa and Molasses are just Earl having fun and displaying his ability. The
production on the record is pretty good too, featuring a lot of production from Earl
and also featuring production for Tyler, The Creator, RZA, and BADABADNOTGOOD.
Overall, Doris sows that earl is still a great young rapper to keep your eye on and
definitely met many people?s expectations.
20Dead In The Dirt
The Blind Hole


This is probably one of the most ridiculous albums I?ve heard in a while. In a
completely good way, mind you. Dead In The Dirt are a powerviolence band from
Atlanta, Georgia, and their music is some of the noisiest, chaotic, and bi-polar out
there right now. Some things you should know about this band and the record before
I go in to more details are: they?re only a three piece, and the album features 22
songs in 24 minutes. From that you know you?re in for a ride. As you can guess,
many of the songs here are short blasts of hate-filled rage and it?s absolutely heavy
and unrelenting. The band uses a mix of death growls and hardcore screaming and
both sound great. And the tones are absolutely righteous. The band combines sound
from grindcore, hardcore, and sludge metal, and they switch from on style to the
other at a moments notice, see Swelling. There?s also a profuse use of feedback. In
fact, the track Strength Through Restraint is practically all feedback and it?s
absolutely manic. Between having your face pummeled buy non-stop carnage, you
get some oddball tracks like Caged, that features what sounds like a church bell and
uses delay to it?s advantage to resemble what it might feel like to be in solitary
confinement. The short tracks are sweet and to the point brutality, and the ?longer?
tracks (2-3 minutes) are actually well structured songs that combine sludge and
hardcore beautifully. The album closer, Halo Crown, sounds like somebody getting
sucked into a black hole, ending with feedback, trudging drums and the vocalists
screaming until it all turns into noise. The Blind Hole is an impressive record that fits
in just about every flavor of ?angry? you can imagine. Listen to this and start
punching holes in your wall.
19Danny Brown
Old


Detroit rapper, Danny Brown, is probably one of the most unique characters in hip-
hop right now. He raps with a high-pitched voice, has impeccable style, raps over
some of the zaniest beats I?ve heard and covers a wide array of topics in his music.
On his commercial debut, Old, Danny displays all of these characteristics more than
ever. The album comes with a dichotomy; the first half of the record, Side A, being
more introspective and more representative of Brown?s older style; and the second
half of the record, Side B, being chockfull of EDM inspired party anthems centered
around drugs and such. The production throughout the album is absolutely
phenomenal. The record mainly features production from Brown?s main man,
SKYWLKR, along with a lot of contributions from Paul White, and some tracks feature
production from Purity Ring and BADBADNOTGOOD. And the first half of the record
features some awesome performances from Danny Brown. On tracks like Torture,
Lonely, and Gremlins, Danny Brown covers his upbringing in the ghettos of Detroit
and paints really vivid pictures of the hardships he and his family went through
growing up. And Side B has some great tracks like molly anthem, Dip and the closest
thing you?ll hear to double bass in hip-hop on Kush Coma. I think my main issue with
Old is that the dichotomy is so strong and apparent. While there was something
similar to this on his 2011 mixtape, XXX, it didn?t seem as forced then as it does now.
On top of that, there are some tracks on Side B of Old that I didn?t think were that
great, mainly Way Up Here, featuring Ab-Soul, and I also didn?t think the album was
quite as quotable or lyrically as impressive as XXX. Overall Danny Brown?s Old is a
fine hip-hop record with exceptional production and great material from Danny
Brown?s more introspective/serious side and his party side but the strong dichotomy
from the first half to the later half in both lyrical content and sound kind of brings it
down.
18Childish Gambino
Because The Internet


This was the one of the last records I checked out from this year, and I was
pleasantly surprised. Childish Gambino is comedian Donald Glover?s rap stage name.
He makes a poppy style of hip-hop that?s full of absolutely genius one-liners. With
Because The Internet, Glover released an 80+ page screenplay to go along with the
concept of the record, but I?m too lazy to read that so I?m basing my opinion on
solely the album (crazy concept, huh?). I haven?t had too much time to really dive
deep into the concept of the record, but from what I?ve gathered, there?s a decent
amount of social commentary regarding the internet, songs about girls and love, and
drug dealing. I?m not sure how it all ties together, but that?s kind of beside the point
right now. What really impressed me with this record is the stellar production.
Gambino is the main producer on the record, working with Ludwig Goransson and a
feature from Thundercat. It?s all original production, not just sampled stuff. The
album features beats with a lot dark synth sounds with some industrial sounds and
weird vocal samples. There?s a sax solo at the end of WORLDSTAR and a guitar solo
at the end of The Worst Guys, which is pretty cool and works really well. In about the
middle of the record the album takes a bit of poppy turn, but it?s done really well the
songs are incredibly catchy. But staring with The Party it goes back to these dark
beats that are magnificent. The last songs go back to brighter, poppier sounds and
it?s just infectious. Overall, Because the Internet is full of witty rapping and amazing
production. I can see myself getting even deeper into this as time goes on
17Chance The Rapper
Acid Rap


Every now and again, a record comes out and shows you a complete fresh take on a
genre that you?d never expect to hear. As I am new to hip-hop, this may happen to
me more often than others, but this mixtape presented a lot of idea that I haven?t
heard before that really resonated with me. Chance The Rapper is a 20-year-old
rapper out of Chicago and Acid Rap is his second mixtape. Acid Rap features some of
the best production I?ve heard in a while. Chance selected great beats that
completely matched what he was going for on every song. The album features a lot
of soul, RnB and jazz type beats, along with some more unconventional beats for
some tunes, like the atmospheric stuff on Paranoia or the pseudo-trap beat on
Smoke Again. Chance himself is a fantastic rapper and signer, showcasing really
witty lyricism and fantastic delivery on every song, with a really unique voice. His
sense for hooks and his ability to make everything extremely catchy is uncanny. It?s
almost impossible to listen to Acid Rap and not have at least one song stuck in your
head for hours. Another thing I love about this record is how positive and uplifting
this record is. While there some tracks that are about typical young rapper stuff;
Smoke Again and NaNa; plenty of other tracks are really introspective and a few
tracks are about love and other feel good topics, but it isn?t cheesy. Chance comes
off really sincere on tracks like Cocoa Butter Kisses, Everybody?s Somebody, Lost
and Acid Rain. With a mixtape that?s highly infectious and fits every feel good mood,
Chance The Rapper put out my favorite hip-hop release of the year.
16Castevet
Obsian


One of the more interesting black metal releases of the year, Castevet?s Obsian adds
progressive and avant-garde elements to atmospheric black metal. The trio consists
of Ian Jacyszyn on drums, Andrew Hock on guitars and blackened vocals, and
Nicholas McMaster, also in Krallice, on bass and death growls. Although the record is
only a short 35 minutes, it packs in a lot of different soundscapes and atmospheres.
The album is primarily really dreamy and desolate, focusing and building on
atmospheres with dense guitar chords and odd time signatures. Another thing I love
about this record is the amazing bass performance by McMaster. He uses the
instruments in many different ways, from using it as a melody instrument, building
dissonant atmospheres with it, and overall just writing some really original and
unique sounding bass lines throughout the entirety of the record. With odd song
structures, desolate atmospheres, and awesome instrumentation, Obsian proves to
be one of the most interesting atmospheric black metal releases to come out this
year.
15Bosnian Rainbows
Bosnian Rainbows


Bosnian Rainbows is the latest project from Omar Rodr?guez-L?pez, known for his
work in At The Drive-In and The Mars Volta. Bosnian Rainbows are an indie rock
band that features a lot of experimentation and electronics. The band features Omar
on guitar, Teri Gender Bender on vocals, Deantoni Parks on drums/keyboards, and
Nicci Kasper on synthesizers and keyboards. That?s right: the drummer plays drums
and keyboards simultaneously and there?s no bass player. But I didn?t know that they
didn?t have a bassist ?til I saw them live. Their bass synth sound is really convincing.
The record features a wide array of songs, each having really unique intricacies.
There?s all sort of sound manipulation, from sporadic uses of guitar layered in
effects, odd keyboard sounds that resemble static being used as a melody, and vocal
sampling, the album presents a lot of cool ideas. But don?t think it?s all experimental
music piece, all of these songs are rock songs that features verse/chorus structures.
There are upbeat songs like Torn Maps and Always On The Run, slower pieces like Eli
and Turtleneck. Most of the songs have elements of it all, but are usually mid-paced
rock songs. Overall, this record has a lot of interesting sounds to offer and features
some of the most interesting musicianship I?ve heard in a long time. With the
exception of Teri, each musician is doing at least two things at once, and it sounds
just as cohesive live as it does on record. If you?re still butthurt that Omar broke up
The Mars Volta and want everything else he does to sound like Volta, this may not be
for you, but if you?re interested in hearing some of the most interesting rock music
that come out this year, check this out.
14 Boris
Pr?parat


Boris, possibly the world?s most diverse rock band, starts off the year with a vinyl
only release, Pr?parat. Like many Boris releases, Pr?parat has a lot of different
sounds and textures on display, but this album feels kind of like a sampler platter. It
seems as if all of these songs could?ve just been jams that they rehearsed like 3
times and then recorded. That?s not a bad thing though because Boris writes some of
the tastiest jams ever. The first 4 tracks are more post-rock /minimalist rock in style,
similar to Feedbacker, featuring bright guitar sounds and deep crescendos. The next
couple of tracks are heavy-as-hell, sludge sluggers. The first one, Method Of Error, is
kind of spastic and not really centered, but the next track, Bataille Sucre is an
awesome stoner jam. The rest of the album is more laid back Boris, and it?s a chill
way to end the album. Overall, the album kind of feels like Boris on autopilot, but
Boris on autopilot is a lot better than most bands trying their best. Dig it.
13Leer
SPRINGBREAKNOPARENTS


My first experience with Leer was when I saw them open at the San Jose top of the
Gaza/Code Orange Kids/Full Of Hell tour back this time last year. I was really
impressed with their set. Leer plays a brand of music that fuses math rock, screamo,
and hardcore and overall has a really poppy, infectious sound. You can think of it as
Piglet+American Football+Page 99 or something of that matter. So when I heard
they put out their debut album this year, I decided to check it out and was treated to
some of the best stuff I?ve heard this year. Leer is a 5-piece band out of San Jose,
and they?re fairly young guys. The vocalist is still in high school I?m pretty sure. And
it shows in the music, in a good way. The band crafts some amazing screamo that?s
filled to the brim with bright, lush tones, amazing musicianship and raw emotion. The
vocalist screams his heart out over all of these tracks. The album has tones of
moods, from booming angst, poppy fun, and introspective climaxes. It?s really
amazing to see how many styles this band successfully pulls off while keeping the
sound completely original. If you dig math rock, mathcore, screamo, or post-
hardcore; you need to this album.
12Pray For Teeth
From The Dry Edge Of The Shore


Pray For Teeth are a three piece out of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. They started out as
a hardcore punk band, but have changed directions into a more atmospheric
sludge/post-metal direction. I discovered them when I saw them play with Children
of God and Centuries back in October. Their set was absolutely crushing, and I really
got into their single the released this year, Swallow The Ground. So when I heard
they were also releasing a full-length, I was excited to hear it, and I was pleased.
From The Dry Edge Of The Shore features 4 songs and they?re all absolutely crushing
songs. The band sounds top-notch on the whole record too. All the guitar and bass
tones are great, ranging from glistening and beautiful to crushingly heavy. The
vocalist also has a hell of scream that fits the music perfectly and send chills down
my spine on certain moments on the record. The songs feature tons of sounds, from
post-rock crescendos, heavy hitting sludge riffs, and even moments with really
beautiful, glistening chords covered in echo. Given their recent change in sound,
these guys have a really good ear for making some awesome post-metal with great
crescendos and phenomenal climaxes. The riffs are heavy, the leads are beautiful
and all around this record is just great. If you need some fresh post-metal, get this.
11Whirr
Around


Whirr are probably my favorite band that I?ve discovered this year. They?re a Bay
Area shoegaze group, featuring 3 guitarists, a bassist, a drummer, and a different
female vocalist on each release. They play a wide array of shoegaze/90?s rock
stylings, from down-tempo rock that?s full of fuzz and reverb, or more up-tempo
songs that are loud. All of their material has elements of shoegaze effects, and 90?s
emo melody, and really softly sung vocals. On their latest EP, Around, Whirr focus
their efforts and crafting really dark, heavy music that sounds really melancholic and
sorrowful. The material is just as loud and melodic as their past material, but there
isn?t a big emphasis on 90?s sound. In fact, with how heavy some of these riffs are, I
wouldn?t be surprised if they were listening to some sludge and doom around the
time they were recording this. A lot of the melodies are full of sorrow and stay in
your mind for hours. Even with the new dark sound, there?s still a lot of shoegaze
sounds on the record, with glistening clean tones and completely fuzzed out chords.
The music is still really emotive, and could very well fit as the soundtrack to laying in
your bed wide awake at 2 in the morning pondering all of life?s nuances. So if really
dark, heavy shoegaze/emotive rock sounds cool to you, listen to this EP.
10Fen
Dustwalker


Fen are a atmospheric post-black metal band out of London. They get the name Fen,
from a marshy flatland area of England called The Fens, where they grew up. They
embody the atmosphere of The Fens in their music. I first got into them when I heard
their sophomore LP in 2011, Epoch. I originally gravitated toward Fen over other
groups that play this style of music because they seamlessly combine elements black
metal, post-rock, folk, and at time progressive rock, so perfectly and have such a
definitive sound. They progress on all of these sounds on their latest record,
Dustwalker. This time around, it seems they put an emphasis on the more serene
sounds of post-rock. Many tracks on the album features long clean passages full of
acoustic and clean electric guitars and clean vocals. The track Spectre is actually
entirely post-rock sounding, with no black metal sounds at all. Other tracks show Fen
taking a more melodic approach to black metal, like the track, Wolf Sun. The
musicianship on the record is as good as ever, with plenty of great guitar work
ranging from black metal riffs to plucked folk chords, interesting bass lines, and
fantastic drumming that perfectly fits every mood and color presented on the record.
Dustwalker also has a fair amount of electronic use, from keyboards to a lot of e-bow
melodies, which give the feelings that you?re at the top of a hill, surveying a great
land mass while breathing in crisp air. Yet again, Fen prove to be one of the best
bands to truly meld black metal with post-rock and give a definite sound to the label
?post-black metal?. If you dig atmospheric black metal, you need to listen to this
record.
9Gorguts
Colored Sands


Gorguts are one of many classic death metal bands that I never really got into when
I was first exploring extreme metal. I remember downloading a few of their records
to familiarize myself with some of their material because I was going to see them
open on the Death To All tour in 2012. While I thought their earlier work was decent
death metal, I never really got into their acclaimed record, Obscura. But after seeing
them live, I was really impressed with their sound, but still didn?t really revisit their
material. So when I heard they had a new album coming out in 2013, I was definitely
interested. And when I heard the album, I was blown away.
If you don?t already know, Gorguts are a Canadian avant-garde/technical death band
that was founded by Luc Lemay in 1989. While their original material was standard
death metal, their later releases saw them experimenting with odd time signatures, a
lot of dissonance, and unconventional song structures. The current line-up of Gorguts
is Luc Lemay with Kevin and Colin of Dysrtyhmia and John from Origin. The new line-
up breathes some new life in the band, but Luc?s wicked song writing is still what?s
most prominent in their sound. Their new album, Colored Sands, sees Gorguts taking
off from where they last were, with a monster of an album. Each song is built from
dense riffs in odd time signatures and are really dissonant and thick. The musician
ship on the record is highly impressive, featuring some of the best guitar and bass
work I?ve heard all year. And the tone these guys get is just massive. The bass lays
down such a thick foundation and the guitar sounds are wicked. Most of the tunes
range from 6-8 and each song packs a punch. Even the song The Battle of Chamdo,
which is a piece written for a violin quartet, is extremely eerie, and shows that Luc
Lemay can do more than just metal. Overall, Colored Sands shows that Gorguts still
has it after a long break, supplying some crushingly heavy avant-garde that?s riddled
with dissonance and crushing riffs. If death metal is your thing, I?d be surprised if
you haven?t heard this already.
8Usnea
Usnea


Pure evil. That?s what comes to mind when I listen to Usnea?s debut record. Usnea
are a doom metal from Portland 4-piece that combine the hellish sounds of funeral
doom metal, sludge metal, and black metal to craft some of the most wicked
sounding metal to come out all year. The band themselves describe their sound by
stating, ?Oppressive tone and volume combine with lyrics searching for meaning in a
world full of oppression, human hierarchy and bleakness and fueled by the anger and
despondency that are its by-product... perhaps in the liberation of negativity we are
truly freed.? Across the two tracks on the record, Usnea uses both high black metal
shrieks an low death metal grunts and write trudging doom metal riffs that give the
listener goosebumps and let them sit and brew to build a hellish atmosphere before
bursting into fierce black metal passages that tear you apart. Even though the record
is only a little over 30 minutes along across its two tracks, Usnea does a fantastic job
of delivering some of the heaviest, and most evil sounding metal I?ve heard all year.
This album would probably rank higher if the two extra tracks that come with the
digital download of the record were technically a part of the album, as those tracks
are just as competent as the two album tracks. But even so, the fact that Unsea
leaves such a huge impact in only half an hour with their brutal riffs is a feat. If
you?re looking for unrelenting, heavy as hell funeral doom metal, this is your album.
7Nails
Abandon All LIfe


The best was to describes Nails? sound is ?hatred ad infinitum?; endless hatred. Nails
are a 4-piece powerviolence out of southern California and they put the power and
violence in powerviolence. If you?re not familiar with that genre tag, it sounds just
like that name. If you want a legit description, it?s a combination of hardcore punk
and grindcore with elements of sludge metal thrown in to create some of the heaviest
and most brutal music the world has to offer. In my opinion, Nails have perfected the
art on their sophomore LP, Abandon All Life. Across 10 tracks in just 17 minutes,
Nails deliver some of the most brutal and hate-filled music I?ve had the pleasure of
subjecting myself to. Their tone on the record is absolutely brutal. Nails use the HM-2
Heavy Metal pedals that?s popular amongst Swedish death metal acts to create brutal
buzzsaw tones, and guitarist/vocalist Todd Jones has one of the meanest screams
out there. Songs on the record range from shorts blast of shear grinding rage like
the tracks Cry Wolf and Absolute Control, slightly longer tunes that throw in some
heavy, slamming riffs like God?s Cold Hands and Abandon All Life, to longer tunes
that features heavy hitting sludge riffs that crush your bones to dust like Wide Open
Wound and the album?s devastating closing track, Suum Cuique. The pure rage and
hatred that give this album such a definite sound is just way too massive to ignore. If
you?re into fast, brutal music, not having heard this record yet should be a crime. So
do it.
6Lycus
Tempest


Your Bay Area funeral doomsters, Lycus, hit the nail on the head with their debut
album, Tempest. Lycus combines sounds of both funeral and traditional doom metal
with sludge and black metal to create really haunting and sorrowful music with an
aggressive edge. The most unique thing that Lycus does is have three different types
of vocals on the record, often times with two going on at a time. The band uses
Gregorian chant like cleans, guttural lows, and haunting shrieks to deliver lyrics full
of sorrow and despair. The chanting vocals often feel like drones in the background
that only build eerie atmospheres to accompany devastating riffs Across the three
tracks on the record, the band displays weeping doom riffs that develop into hellish
death metal and black metal passages, before returning to sorrowful doom passages.
The songs almost resemble being caught in a tempest storm, with calm beginnings
the turn into ravishing waves that eventually calm down and take the ship down it.
They way the band develops eerie atmospheres is remarkable; especially on the title
track that features violin accompaniment that weeps over the guitar?s sinister
melodies. The record is the finest funeral doom metal album of the year, combining
mournful doom melodies with heavy sludge riffs and punishing black metal passages.
If you like doom metal, listen to this.
5My Bloody Valentine
m b v


My Bloody Valentine are a special band. Over a decade since the release of their
seminal album, Loveless, people from all around the world are still discovering it and
being highly inspired by it. Bandleader, Kevin Shields, changed music forever with
the way he manipulates sounds, turning his music into thick walls of sound, and
creating sounds you?d swear were keyboards with guitars. The band went on to be
regarded as one of the innovators of the shoegaze genre and inspire rock bands for
year to come. When they got back together in 2007, I?m sure people everywhere
were super stoked, and since then I?m sure people have been wanting to hear new
material, as Kevin Shields had reported to be working on new material. In late 2012,
plans were made for the album to be released before the new year. Later in
December 2012, they announced it was complete and mastered, and on January
27th, 2013, Kevin announced at a live gig that the album ?might be out in a 2 or 3
days?. After a lot of anticipation, the record was finally dropped on February 2nd,
2013. After 22 years since the release of Loveless, My Bloody Valentine?s third LP,
entitled ?m b v? delivers some of the best music 2013 had to offer.
While a lot of people were probably hoping for Loveless Pt. 2, that isn?t what?s in
store on ?m b v?. This record sees Kevin Shields breaking new ground, and making
on overall quitter album, but there?s still plenty of awesome noise manipulations and
the songs themselves would still sound great if they weren?t slathered in effects. The
Loveless line-up is in full effect: Kevin?s guitar playing is as sharp as ever; Bilinda
Butcher?s voice is still absolutely angelic, Debbie Googe?s bass lines are as fuzzy and
groovy as ever and Colm ? C?oso?ig actually gives complete drum performances as
opposed to being sampled as he was on Loveless. The first thing noticeable about ?m
b v? is that the production sounds modern, which indicates that you?ll be hearing a
new My Bloody Valentine. The songs all have about the same mid pace through out
the album. The first half of the record sounds like songs that could?ve been written
after Loveless. The first track, She Found Now, starts the album off on a slow note,
with a track that?s nothing but shoegazing guitars and soft vocals. The next track,
Only Tomorrow, is a more upbeat song with drums and bass, and already shows the
band starting to toy with sound like they?re known for. Some of the guitar effects are
bright and other sound shattered, and the band puts the vocals through effects at the
end of the chorus, and the sound it produces almost mimics a slide whistle going up.
The rest of the first half is definitely standard rock songs with all the sound
manipulation that My Bloody Valentine is known for. The track Who Sees You
features the infamous ?vacuum sound? with the main guitar melody. The last three
songs of the record see the band unveiling material that is unlike anything My Bloody
Valentine has done before. There?s drum and bass like drums used on these songs,
and a large use of the e-bow on the closing track, Wonder 2. Unfortunately the song
?Nothing Is? is kind of a clunker. It?s really just a 2 second sample of distorted guitar
with a drumbeat played for like 3 minutes. But other then that, every song on the
record is badass. Overall, My Bloody Valentine made a hell of a comeback. All the
songs, save one, are amazing testaments to the My Bloody Valentine legacy, proving
that Kevin Shields still knows how to write and make some of the most interesting
rock music the world has to offer.
4Children Of God
We Set Fire To The Sky


Many bands work on a dynamic where there are a couple of definite sounds and
moods to their music. A lot of metal bands switch off between clean and pretty
passages and then more aggressive sections. Children of God choose a bipolar sound
that switches between pure rage to completely crushing sorrow. Neither side is
pretty. Across the 28 minutes of their debut album, Children of God give one of the
rawest performances I?ve heard all year, combining elements of powerviolence,
doom metal, black metal, and post-rock to create really emotionally charged music
that leaves a lasting impact on the listener. The reason I likened their sound to being
bipolar is because these shifts in sound practically happen on a moments notice.
While some tracks features post-rock like buildup like the two parts of From The Sky,
other tracks like Unrelenting Storm switch from hardcore riffage to doom metal
trudging at a moments notice, making the shift in sound ever more powerful. The
first half of the record is comprised of shorter songs, with the longest being just shy
of 4 minutes. Some of these shorter songs also feature really awesome ideas that
you don?t hear in other hardcore influenced music, like the e-bow outro of From The
Sky to the tribal drum outro on Awaken. The last songs on the record are longer,
each exceeding 5 minutes, with the longest going at almost 7 minutes. These two
feature post-rock like buildups and atmosphere before blowing up into sonic fury.
The production on the record is top notch too. Every instrument sounds excellent,
and the vocalist?s scream is earth shattering. One moments of the record where it?s
just one or two instruments alone, like the drum+vocals intro on Offer, it almost
sounds like you can hear the band in the studio, right in front of them performing the
songs. It?s incredible and creates an almost intimate feeling with the music.
Everything about this record is really well executed, from a production stand-point to
song-writing. We Set Fire To The Sky is one of the most emotionally charged records
I?ve heard in recent history, and it?s as beautiful as it is hostile. Listen to this.
3Light Bearer
Silver Tongue


UK post-metal band Light Bearer are one of best bands out there that tell a narrative
both through their music, and with their music. Vocalist/lyricist, Alex CF, uses Light
Bearer describes the narrative as ?a metaphorical story about the dawn of
enlightenment, based upon a number of interpretations of the Judaeo Christian
version of the casting out of Lucifer and the fall of man from the book of genesis.? In
their first LP, Lapsus, the story of the fall of Lucifer is told. After Lucifer refuses to
bow before man, as he only bows to his maker (referred to ?the false god? by Alex
CF), god casts Lucifer from heaven. After this, Lucifer is enlightened of the falsehood
his god spoke, and decides to try and spread his word. Lapsus ends with Lucifer
gathering followers and being cast to hell. As a result, the album sounded like
betrayal and anguish. Silver Tongue stars with Lucifer trying to spread his word
against the false god. The character of Lucifer is making an effort to shed light on the
lies the false god has told, and through this album, his efforts don?t go unheard.
As a result of the story, the music displayed on Silver Tongue has a much angrier
tone. A lot of the heavier sections of the music feel to be more a derivative of crust,
but they ultimately retain an overall sludgy tone. The soaring leads over the heavy
riffage are as fierce as they are beautiful. Alex CF?s shouts are more powerful than
ever. But just because the album sounds angrier than any other Light Bearer
material doesn?t take away from any other aspect of their sound. Light Bearer still
retains all the beauty and elegance of post-rock that?s found in their sound. Deep
crescendos and glistening leads are ever present, only intensifying the heavy riffs
that pummel the listener as the songs run their course. There?s also more use of
strings with plenty passages featuring violin and cello, both clean parts and heavy
parts. The album also features a lot of brass instrumentation in the beginning and
end of the record. The use of traditional instruments adds another layer to their
already thick sound. The most interesting song on the record is the self-titled
concluding track. The album starts off with a serene passage that?s almost
reminiscent of the clean melodies featured on that latest Baroness record. It later
erupts into an epic post-hardcore like riffs that?s got a really bright and positive
attitude. I think this because lyrically, the narrative tells about Eve and her pursuit to
spread the knowledge that Lucifer has bestowed on here. This epic sound is
something else that is new to Light Bearer, and they pull it off so well. Overall, with a
interesting narrative, riffs that are heavier than ever and beautiful post-rock
sections, Light Bearer?s sophomore effort just goes to show that they?re the best
post-metal band of this decade. If you like post-metal, you need to hear this.
2Deafheaven
Sunbather


2013?s favorite (metal) album. I first fell in love with Deafheaven when I heard their
debut record, Roads To Judah. The way the band combined post-rock and black
metal was truly beautiful. When I heard they were releasing a follow up record in
2013, I was excited. When I heard the lead single off the record, Dream House, I
knew I was in for amazing record. When it dropped, I loved in immediately. But I
noticed I wasn?t the only one. In fact, I was one of many. People everywhere where
infatuated with Sunbather. From the metal realm, and from far outside the metal
realm, Sunbather was getting praise and accolades. Let?s hear why I think why.
The first thing I think is worth mentioning about Sunbather is that it sees a strong
influence of shoegaze. While some could say there are some shoegaze sounds on
their debut, I don?t think it was nearly as noticeable as it is Sunbather. Every track
features moments with huge guitar swells and walls of sound being created by
guitarist Kerry McCoy. This new feature added to Deafheaven?s sound definitely
turned some heads. Another thing about Sunbather is that it attracted a lot people
from the hardcore community. I think this is due to the fact that each of the album?s
4 main songs features a catchy refrain at the end of the song that is an open
invitation to sing-alongs. The band also introduces a lot of new things to their sound
with this record. The track Vertigo features a really lush intro with a really clever use
of delay and beautiful use of an e-bow. The song also features the first guitar solo on
a Deafheaven record. So with the band keeping true to their black metal and post-
rock beginnings, and introducing sounds from shoegaze and screamo, and overall
having a bit of a poppier sound, the band presents a lot for people to like, and
reaches to a larger audience.
But what really makes Sunbather so amazing is the execution of the record. It?s
really impressive considering that the whole record was written only by guitarist
Kerry McCoy and vocalist George Clarke. Roads to Judah was a full band effort, but
with the whole band leaving save the two original members, full creative control was
left up to Kerry McCoy, and the fact that he so seamlessly combines so many
different sounds to creative something so cohesive is incredible. And don?t go
thinking that because there?s a strong shoegaze sound and more pop sensibility that
he record isn?t heavy. The black metal influence is still strong and tracks like Dream
House, Vertigo, and The Pecan Tree feature some of the band?s fiercest moments,
with unrelenting tremolo picked riffs and George Clarke screaming his head off.
Another interesting addition to the album is the transition tracks on the record. While
Irresistible is a nice conclusion to Dream House, the other two aren?t anything too
great. Please Remember does feature some nice acoustic guitar work, but Windows
is purely Godspeed You! Black Emperor worship with the samples of the street
sermon and a drug deal. But those don?t matter because the 4 main pieces of music
are so badass. Deafheaven perfectly meld black metal, shoegaze, post-rock and
screamo to create some of the most beautiful music 2013 has to offer. If you haven?t
listened to this record (HOW?) and you dig post-black metal/blackgaze, listen to this
now.
1SubRosa
More Constant Than The Gods


Every now and again, a record will come out that compete floors you with how
emotionally charged and authentic it is. The album seems to be a perfect
representation of how the members of the band were feeling at that time, whatever it
was they were feeling. That?s what I felt with this record, whole-heartedly. SubRosa
are a unique 5-piece sludge/doom metal band from Salt Lake City, Utah. As if being
a doom metal from Utah wasn?t interesting enough, the band?s line-up is 3/5ths are
women and two of them play violin. With this interesting combination of musicians,
SubRosa?s 2011 record, No Help For The Mighty Ones, presented some of the darkest
and heaviest doom I?d ever heard. The riffs are heavier than tectonic plates, the
melodies are full or sorrow and the way the violins are incorporated is nothing short
of genius. The vocals are clean the vocal harmonies the three women on the record
supply are amazing. So when I heard SubRosa announced they were releasing a new
album, I was really excited, but I wasn?t expecting to get hit with this massive of a
record. More Constant Than The Gods is unlike anything I?ve heard before.
SubRosa still retains all the dark wonder that?s present on their debut, but multiplies
it on this record in tons of new ways. The most noticeable thing they do on this
record is feature some male vocals on the opening track, The Usher. The vocal trade
off that happens over a guitar line with soaring violins is beautiful and you can truly
feel the sorrow in their voice. This then erupts into a heavy-as-fuck riff while violins
are still creating demented melodies that weep over these riffs. The doom assault
continues the next track, Ghosts Of A Dead Empire, which features what is probably
the heaviest riff of 2013. The sick violin melodies played on this track only make the
song ever heavier and darker than the riff could alone (which is saying something).
The next track, Cosey Mo, is actually kind of a sludge jam that?s as heavy as it is
groovy, in the darkest way possible. Fat Of The Ram starts with a desolate and
atmospheric intro, similar to Attack on Golden Mountain from their debut, then turns
into a doom extravaganza with assaulting violins. The next track, Affliction, is one of
the most unique metal songs I?ve heard all year. The main feature of the song is a
demented, dissonant riff that actually comes from a distorted violin. It took me a
good amount of listen to finally figure that out. The final track on the record is
definitely the most interesting thing SubRosa have done. The track isn?t a metal
song. It features piano, guitar, violin, hammered dulcimer and flute. The song starts
with a piano bass line and melody that?s ever so melancholic. Soon after a
harmonized flute melody comes in, and you can hear some faint violin in the
background. The singing on this track is full of emotion, especially when the
harmonies kick in. The song builds up tension before exploding with a distorted guitar
chord pedaling while an explosive flute solo busts out of nowhere. Puts anything you
heard on the new Blood Ceremony to shame. After this the vocals come back in with
flute and violins playing as the guitar continues to pedal. The song ends with the
guitar pedal, flute, violin, and a wicked hammered dulcimer melody. Definitely one of
the most interesting songs I?ve heard all year.
More Constant Than The Gods is the most beautiful, heart-wrenching, dark, and
heavy album I?ve heard all year. The riffs beat you in the face, but what really shines
in the emotional places this album goes to. Singer/guitarist/songwriter Rebecca
Vernon dedicated this album to her mother that passed away in the last few years,
and you can hear that in the music. There was a lot of energy and emotion put into
making this record, and it shines. It?s obvious this served as a cathartic outlet for
her. Music this mournful couldn?t be more beautiful.
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