Thomas Michael Morris

Reviews 36
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Soundoffs 107
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Last Active 12-03-14 11:21 pm
Joined 02-03-07

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01.08.15 Yazz_40 2014 10.28.14 Run The Jewels Tracks Ranked
10.20.14 Top 30 Weezer Songs04.02.14 Best Sonata Arctica Tracks
02.03.14 Gza - Liquid Swords Ranked01.03.14 Yazz_40 2013
11.22.13 Top 20 Protest The Zero Songs05.02.13 Top 20 Streetlight Manifesto Songs
01.15.13 Afterman Ranked01.03.13 Yazz_40 2012
11.29.12 Top 33 Deftones Songs10.09.12 Top 20 Enslaved Songs
09.19.12 The Faceless - Best Songs N Shit09.14.12 Epicloud Ranked
07.20.12 The Glow Pt. 2 Ranked Pt. 207.09.12 System Of A Down - Top 30
06.25.12 2012 Slacking06.23.12 Last.fm Narcissism
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Yazz_40 2012

I'm feeling ambitious...top 40 of 2012.
40Alio Die
Deconsecrated and Pure

There's nothing all that profound at work here; a beautiful and relaxing ambient release. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nOnT9rKgLWw
39Wizard Rifle
Speak Loud Say Nothing

A curious mix of what could best be described as Melvins meets Dillinger Escape Plan, all done under one of the greatest monikers of all time. https://soundcloud.com/seventhrule/wizard-rifle-tears-wont-soften

Bosse-De-Nage are more than your run of the mill metrosexual black metal/shoegaze/hardcore/cum bands. On III, the foursome separate the cumulative aesthetic qualities of a group like Wolves in the Throne Room or Deafheaven into their own separate ideas, yet manage to meld them together coolly and seamlessly throughout the course of a single composition. http://www.youtube.com/watch? v=ZTI4KWpT19Q

An idiosyncratic blend of neoclassical, glitch, and black metal and one of the oddest albums I've listened to all year. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MKp30C3MwVk
Therefore the Illusion of Density...

Japanese instrumental math/post-rock. http://zankyouk.bandcamp.com/track/convulsive-beauty-in-sound-is-the-horror-of- the-body-beyond-the-idea-to-visit-the-wild
35Devil Sold His Soul
Empire of Light

It may not reach the tragic zeniths that Blessed & Cursed strived towards, but Empire of Light is still an intense and gripping mix of post-metal and emo, this time with a bit more of a concentrated focus on melodic tendencies. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=espr9jZWXBE
Koi No Yokan

I would wager that Koi No Yokan is the most comfortable release Deftones have put out yet...but these guys just gel so well together after nearly 20 years a band that they still managed to pump out some of their strongest material since Saturday Night Wrist. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sPO81Fz4s2g
All We Love We Leave Behind

RAAAHHREEEEH with slightly less RAAAAAHRAAAAHH and more Slayer riffs. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kiALoVqzAVo
32The Chariot
One Wing

I've never been much of a Chariot fan until the release of One Wing. Who the fuck tacks on a Spaghetti-Western outro, trumpet and all, to the end of a hardcore song? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0oHAFqmmrik
31Tacoma Narrows Bridge Disaster

Silly band-name aside, TNBD managed to release a really solid and gimmick-free post-metal album. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZPMDDP8xPEc
30Aluk Todolo
Occult Rock

Aluk Todolo are one of the more interesting bands I've listened to in...probably forever actually. The 85-minute runtime is certainly daunting, but does not feel unwelcome given the trance-like nature of the album. Picture a black-metal versipn of the band Tortoise, and you would not be far off from the meandering compositions Aluk Todolo offer on Occult Rock. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ow1g4xd7gTM
If We Get There One Day Will You Please Open The

Really well-done and imaginative post-rock, hampered slightly by its 80-minute run time. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D9EFN-boX0s
Samaroid Dioramas

Sunpocrisy's brand of sludgy post-metal is certainly not the most innovative in the scene, but with tracks as well-executed as "Apophenia", I've no qualms. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YRkCllXarHY
27John Zorn
Templars-In Sacred Blood

The sixth album with John Zorn's Moonchild band (featuring the likes of Mike Patton and Trevor Dunn). Patton steals the show on this one with his ludicrous vocal outbursts. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=49EMblOSPHo
26Coheed and Cambria
The Afterman: Ascension

It's disappointingly short as the first half of a double-album, but Afterman is still the most fun I've had listening to a Coheed Album since Good Apollo I. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XgdGWwBagwM
No Absolutes in Human Suffering

Fuck. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=521BbVL2G7E
24Downfall of Gaia
Suffocating in the Swarm of Cranes

Suffocating in the Swarm of Cranes suffers slightly from a lack of variation, but the freezing atmosphere it conveys makes up for any of its shortcomings. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zx0jhbUbbqQ
Mass V

Amenra released a better Neurosis album than Neurosis did this year. Facetiousness aside, the wall of sound Amenra create on Mass V is absolutely monolithic. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cYYwXJgbNa4
The Void

On the Void, prog-veterans Beardish managed to take the popular metal-evolution path taken by many of their contemporaries, without devolving into inanity (well, mostly). http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jrJkYhfCcuw
21Dirty Three
Toward the Low Sun

A delightful post-rock/krautrock hybrid that jams harder than anything these Aussie Vets have released. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zhzdjcGx2s8
A Lament For the Lamb

Polish Avant-Garde/Post-Rock/Jazz. One of the most overlooked albums of the year. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D0mNBArqgXc
19Scott Walker
Bish Bosch

Scott Walker is a lunatic. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Ih7KzKLLWA
18Stagnant Waters
Stagnant Waters

Norwegian Avant-Garde/Black Metal/Grind/Electronica. There's a ridiculous amalgam of influences going on here, so I'll stop after four superfluous genre tags. Think the Norwegian "Shining" but less prog, and more spastic.
17Kayo Dot
Gamma Knife

My review covers my thoughts on Toby's latest return to growl city. http://kayodot.bandcamp.com/album/gamma-knife
Smierc w Miekkim Futerku

Avant-jazz to quench all of your cigar-smoking and forehead-wrinkling thirsts. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rw4aHvdN9Jw
15Twelve Foot Ninja
Silent Machine

I don't think there's any 2012 I've listened to as much as Silent Machine. Twelve Foot Ninja essentially play popular chillout genres such as reggae, dub, and flamenco through a metallic lense. If Mr. Bungle had mainstream appeal, they would be these guys. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I83Xp7itj8c
14Ana Never
Small Years

These Serbians clearly have an affinity for GY!BE, and while Small Years isn't particularly new or innovative, the climaxes reach such heights that I couldn't care much less. At 75 purely instrumental minutes, it's certainly a little long, but it's the perfect release to put on in the background while you perform inspirational acts (essay-writing, exam-studying, rooster-asphyxiating, etc.) http://ananever.bandcamp.com/album/small-years
13Godspeed You! Black Emperor
'Allelujah! Don't Bend! Ascend!

Godspeed are the voluptuous T&A of the post-rock world. Next. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RXdF9uhVrI0
12The Pirate Ship Quintet
Rope For No-Hopers

Post-Rock/Emo with sparse vocal freakouts sprinkled throughout. Think Explosions in the Sky + Violins - boring. Marvelous album. http://www.youtube.com/watch? v=gB3PzAf4pkY
11Circle Takes the Square
Decompositions: Volume Number One

Surprise! Decompositions slightly ditches the messy screamo entropy of As the Roots Undo in favor of a more focused, and perhaps metallic aesthetic. However, CTTS are still masters of spastic tension and release. Check out the cathartic closing track, "North Star, Inverted" for verification. http://www.youtube.com/watch? v=SEZ0DMfiyho
10Mount Eerie
Clear Moon

No matter the moniker he records under, Phil Elverum has been one of the most prolific performers of lo-fi/experimental folk. Clear Moon is the more subdued counterpart to the harsher drone of "Ocean Roar", and is as chilling in its simplicity as the scene portrayed in the album cover. http://www.youtube.com/watch? v=XT17qcQ2vNk
9Vampillia and Nadja
The Primitive World

I've had past listening encounters with both drone metal titans Nadja, and Japanese neoclassical group Vampillia in the past," but I've always considered their releases to have hyperspecific appeal. This year, the two groups collaborated on "The Primitive World" and in doing so, have surpassed each of their individual works. As ghostly as it is beautiful as it is enthralling and terrifying, The Primitive World is certainly not a release to be overlooked. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2KZCe6bYjzI
The World is a House on Fire

Zelienople are a difficult band to categorize, with drone, post-rock, ambient, slow core, metal, and jazz coming to mind as clear influences to their monochromatic kaleidoscope of sound. The World is a House on Fire is perhaps their most subdued work to date, with the volume scarcely rising above a mezzo-forte. In spite of the quiet-quieter-quietest schematic of volume practiced on the album, Zelienople manage to remain consistently interesting do their attention to detail. The World is a House on Fire is one of the most nuanced, defeated records I've ever listened to, and is one of the strongest releases in their vast discography. https://soundcloud.com/_type/sets/zelienople-the-world-is-a

Enslaved are one of the forefathers of the progressive black-metal scene, but on RIITIIR, much of the black metal elements Enslaved entered the genre emulating are gone, or at least submerged under a sea sprawling epics. RIITIIR is the longest album Enslaved have released, with the average track length falling into the seven to eight minute range. However, the variety track to track is at an all time high, and triumphant highs reached in tracks such as "Death in the Eyes of Dawn" and most especially "Roots of the Mountain" have never quite been exploited with such depth in the past 20+ years of Enslaved's career. RIITIIR is a monumental release for Enslaved, and it may just be their strongest release yet. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7DULdEgVgY8
6Ne Obliviscaris
Portal of I

Portal of I has probably been the most divisive metal release of 2012, with ideologies of superfluity and unoriginality being lobbed internet-wide. While it's certainly a bit lengthy, I've found Portal of I to be an incrediibly well-excuted progressive metal album. Ne Obliviscaris do a phenomenal job of mixing some of the most extreme styles of metal with other seemingly less-homogenous genres such as flamenco or classical. Really, the only gripe I have with this album is that the bass and violin are a little too low in the mix for my liking - they're the most unique aspects of the band. Regardless, Ne Obliviscaris proved with Portal of I that there aren't many new progressive-metal bands out there as ambitious as they are, the scary thing being that they appear to have the chops to improve and become something truly special. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WMRKBz89uRQ
The Seer

The Seer is a monstrous release, but you guys already knew that. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xdzYh1-MhjY
Acid Mist Tomorrow

Hypno5e's play a unique brand of metal that smashes hardcore, death metal, ambient, and trance in a press to create a unique and cinematic metalloid experience. Much of Hypno5e's music has been composted with the band's independent film-making in mind, but the material on Acid Mist Tomorrow is interesting enough to stand on its own without the aid of a visual medium. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LLd3H0CqJMQ
3John Zorn
Mount Analogue

John Zorn is likely the most prolific avant-garde composer we've seen in the past several generations, with his name becoming synonymous with the off-kilter and experimental. Perhaps that's what makes Mount Analogue, one of his several 2012 releases, as enthralling as it is. Mount Analogue is the most "normal" sounding composition this listener has ever heard from Mr. Zorn. Mount Analogue is a single 40-minute composition that explores genres such as modern classical, brazilian folk, native-american chant, traditional hebrew music, and latin jazz-funk. The grouip of performers John has orchestrated for this release are clearly among the most gifted in the business, with the pianist and vibraphone player standing out particularly to myself as a percussionist. Zorn has stated himself that unlike many of his compositions, Mount Analogue was composed fully on sheet music, and it is a composition I would love to analyze with my own eyes.
2We Lost the Sea
The Quietest Place on Earth

Once it's been decided that the brand of music released by a band falls into the "post-metal" category, the comparison to genre stalwarts Neurosis, Isis, and Rosetta are inevitable. We Lost the Sea's take on the genre, is certainly similar to Rosetta's, given their implementation of hardcore archetypes and their affinity for astronauts, but there's so much more on display here than a mere carbon-copy. "The Quietest Place On Earth" is a sprawling and emotional masterpiece, where sludgel is as much the focal point as classical piano or climactic post-rock. The fourth track, "Forgotten People", is entirely driven by its female vocal performance, and with a little more bombast, would not be out of place on the latest Anathema release. However, it's the first track, titled "A Quiet Place", which has my vote as the strongest track on the album, and one of my personal favorites all year. http://welostthesea.bandcamp.com

In years past, the album I've deemed my album of the year has often been a wire- to-wire contender. Beforemath does not continue that idiosyncratic habit, and was instead an album I stumbled upon in November of this year. I've had to have listened to the album 20+ times since then, and I swear that its appeal grows on me exponentially with each spin. Gatling are a young Canadian band whose previous releases have dabbled solely in instrumental/experimental metal. For Beforemath, they recruited a vocalist and released a more standard progressive-metal album. At least, that's what I'm going to assume their sentiment was; Beforemath is perhaps inadvertently one of the most unique albums I've ever listened to. Outside of the vocalist, the band is clearly immensely talented, with many of the songs being driven by very complex guitar lines. The vocalist, in comparison, sounds quite amateurish and actually brings to mind emo music such as Sunny Day Real Estate, or a less bombastic Coheed and Cambria. The complexity of the music, the sci-fi concept lyrics, and the contrasting vocals, mixed in a clear, but thin ether of production gives this album and atmosphere that's comparable with an album like Coheed & Cambria's Second Stage Turbine Blade. The shortest track on the album, "Glass Room" even brings to mind a math/indie-rock band like Minus the Bear or This Town Needs Guns, and ultimately is one of the loveliest and most charming songs I've listened to all year. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FppQMWBdFO0
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