Willie
Trey Spencer
Staff

Reviews 255
Soundoffs 181
News Articles 317
Band Edits + Tags 2,937
Album Edits 3,825

Album Ratings 5347
Objectivity 87%

Last Active 04-23-14 8:28 pm
Joined 07-09-07

Forum Posts 5,766
Review Comments 15,778

 Lists
04.03.14 Willie's Q1 Listens 11.26.13 Willie's Top 50 Of 2013
11.09.11 Willie's Top 50 Of 2011 07.09.11 Willie Turns 4
02.21.11 Willie's Essentials 01.21.11 Users' Best Of The Decade
12.13.10 Willie's 2010 - Finalized 12.10.10 Omitted from the final list
11.22.10 Top 20 Explained 09.09.10 Underrated Albums
07.09.10 Willie Turns 306.15.10 Willie's 90 For The 90s
06.08.10 Willie's Decade List01.18.10 Willie's Guide To Industrial
07.10.09 Willie Turns 208.20.08 100 Reviews

Willie's Q1 Listens

Every 2014 release that I've heard (in my order of quality)
1Behemoth
The Satanist


4.0 - They brought back some black metal influences. They added a ton more dynamics. They made the bass audible. Somehow they also made the songs very catchy and memorable despite it being black/death metal.
2The Jezabels
The Brink


4.0 - The Jezabels kind of move in an 80s electro pop direction in a few places, but it's a nice change up from their indie pop formula that they do so well. I like her altered vocal style, too.
3Marissa Nadler
July


4.0 - Another beautiful, moody, atmospheric indie album from Marissa Nadler. She hasn't really changed up her style in forever, but when it is this good....
4Sophie Ellis-Bextor
Wanderlust


4.0 - This is well-done electronic indie pop. The melodies, lyrics, etc never get overly poppy or upbeat and the album still manages to be memorable and hooky. Makes for a nice chill listen.
5Insomnium
Shadows of the Dying Sun


4.0 - I don't want to let the cat out of the bag before anyone reviews it... but suffice it to say that this is another really good melodic death metal release.
6Marty Friedman
Inferno


4.0 - If you like Jeff Loomis' solo stuff, then you'll like this. It's heavy and shredding and also a bit original. Especially the awesome, John Zorn-ish, 'Meat Hook'. It's like Mr. Bungle goes metal.
7Warpaint
Warpaint


4.0 - A cool, mellow dream pop / post punk release. It never falls into the trap of getting too atmospheric or droning and, thankfully, the vocals are pretty good at creating some nice hooks despite the lack of actual strong choruses.
8Teramaze
Esoteric Symbolism


3.8 - Moody, semi-heavy, progressive metal. Definitely an album that requries a few listens to before it fully clicks. These guys' brand of prog is closer to the no-frills of Porcupine Tree or Damn the Machine than the wankery of Dream Theater. Songs definitely come first here.
9Exit_International
Our Science is Golden


3.6 - I've never heard their other album, but this is pretty damn good. Kind of reminds me of a stranger, much noisier, version of BATS. I like it. 'Fuck Yeah! Depression' is so damn catchy.
10Alcest
Shelter


3.5 - Very chill and melodic shoegaze album that could easily appeal to fans of Anathema's last few releases. The black metal influences are completely gone now, but when the music is this good... who cares?
11Caliban
Ghost Empire


3.5 - I've heard these guys before, but I don't really remember them. This album, though, is pretty cool. It's kind of a metalcore/djent hybrid with some cool effects and occasional industrial parts. To be honest, it kind of reminds me of the latest album by Still Remains.
12Ethersens
Your Wandering Ghost


3.5 - This is a strange hybrid. It's kind of progressive metal, kind of post metal, kind of post punk... it's definitely very rhythmic and atmospheric. Whatever it is, I like it.
13Mechina
Xenon


3.5 - These guys have definitely perfected their formula. What is that formula? Symphonic Industrial Death Metal. Even though the songs are maybe a little too similar, the album still ends up being pretty great.
14Pyrrhon
The Mother of Virtues


3.5 - This is like Gorguts meets Behold the Arctopus. Crazy technical death metal with a good bit of atmosphere and a tendency to slide straight into dissonant chaos.
15Flotsam and Jetsam
No Place For Disgrace - 2014


3.5 - So what makes this worth it? A nice, clear guitar tone that makes the riffs more recognizable and heavier. Somed solos and extras. More powerful drum sound. An overall fuller sound for the entire album. Last, Eric's voice has aged like fine wine. He sings the songs with the grittier vocal delivery that he started using on Cuatro while still hitting the high notes. What's questionable? Mostly, the fact that they slowed down the tempo in a few places (Most noticeable in the title track, but also in a few other spots). Those that love the classic 80s thrash sound will definitely be upset by the modern production.
16Relief in Sleep
Godspeed


3.4 - This is basically alt. rock with post hardcore tendencies. The music is really well done. The band really kind of reminds me of Thera with the male/female vocals, piano, subtle electronics and very emotive angle.
17Within Temptation
Hydra


3.3 - Yes, this is painfully generic gothic rock/metal with all the required keyboards, female vocals and anonymous riffs -- but it is also really well-executed and extrememly catchy.
18Viza
Aria


3.3 - This is the perfect cross between latter-day System of a Down and The Apex Theory. Some of the melodies and vocals sound like they were lifted straight from those bands. Minor originality issues aside, this isn't bad. At the end of the day, this is still catchy, well-played, quirky alt. rock -- it just sounds vaguely familiar.
19Lacuna Coil
Broken Crown Halo


3.3 - Lacuna Coil have settled into the second era of their career that started around 'Shallow Life'. This is the best of those new-era Lacuna Coil albums. Probably as good as they'll ever be.
20Anomalie
Between the Light


3.3 - Very atmospheric and melodic post black metal. It is like 70% black metal and 30% post rock. It almost always has some sort of cyclical melodic refrain and never really falls into the trap of silence or mellow sections just for the sake of it. Surprisingly, it's also a very emotional/vulnerable album too (just listen to 'Not Like Others'). The album starts off really strong and every song is really good, but the problem is that they all kind of blend together by the end because there isn't a lot of variation.
21One Machine
The Distortion of Lies and the Overdriven Truth


3.3 - This could be so awesome, but I can't get past the vocals. This album has all the classic, prog/thrash riffs that you'd expect from Steve Smyth (Testament, Nevermore) and all the shredding solos, too. Unfortunately for me, it also has one of those screechy classic metal vocalists that I just don't do well with. Kind of the classic Iced Earth vocalist style.
22Cynic
Kindly Bent to Free Us


3.2 - So, Cynic can still throw their fans some curveballs. This isn't nearly as instant, as metal or as catchy as their previous albums. This is the band drawing down to their prog roots and making expansive, sprawling (by Cynic standards) tracks that will require all kinds of work to finally process and retain. This one may take all year to grow.
23Animals as Leaders
The Joy of Motion


3.2 - Instrumental rock/metal is a very hit-or-miss thing. What works for someone will totally bore another. Unfortunately, this album fades into the background about as often as it actually catches my attention. Fluid, instrumental prog that is mostly pretty mellow (but energetic at the same time... weird).
24Delain
The Human Contradiction


3.2 - I'm surprised. This album really brings some good riffs. Of course, they're layered under female vocals and keyboards, and broken up by super-poppy choruses -- but it's still a good surprise. Delain have moved in the same direction as Within Temptation's 'The Unforgiving' release. They've throttled back on the keyboard overkill, added better riffs and made the whole thing much more mainstream.
25Impaled Nazarene
Vigorous and Liberating Death


3.2 - This is a very clean production by Impaled Nazarene standards. The production lets you hear all the instruments, which is nice. I also hear an undercurrent of keyboards (Were they always used? Maybe I just don't remember). This album is also slightly more melodic than their previous stuff. Other than that, it's business as usual with their brand of black metal. Doesn't hold a candle to their last album, though.
26Rise of Avernus
L Appel Du Vide


3.2 - Symphonic, progressive and bombastic doom. The main vocal style is death growls, but there are occasional femalevocals and clean male vocals. It's pretty damn good and one of the albums that will definitely grow through the year.
27Enthroned
Sovereigns


3.2 - Very solid, if a bit unremarkable, black metal. On the other hand, it is definitely pretty diverse and dynamic for an Enthroned album. Lots of varied tempos and vocals, and the extra sounds and effects are definitely complimentary.
28Sargeist
Feeding the Crawling Shadows


3.2 - Very raw and atmospheric black metal. I don't hate it like a lot of other people seem to, but I've also never heard their previous stuff.
29Hark
Crystalline


3.2 - The proggy sludge thing that they have going on is pretty cool in very small doses. The lack of any real hooks or variation makes it drag pretty damn quick, though.
30Hiidenhauta
Noitia on Minun Sukuni


3.1 - Raw, atmospheric, melodic black metal with occasional female backing vocals. Definitely has that nineties black metal vibe. Also has some subtle doom elements as well. Not bad, not bad at all.
31Aenaon
Extance


3.1 - Black Metal with a slight experimental edge. There's clean vocals, saxophone, mellow parts, atmospheric parts, fast-paced black metal parts -- but nothing ever really comes together like it should.
32Helms Alee
Sleepwalking Sailors


3.1 - This is some pretty good sludge metal. The vocalist kind of reminds me of a hybrid of the guy from Fugazi and the guy from Filter. The rhythm section is what really keeps this going, though.
33RPWL
Wanted


3.1 - Mellow, diverse, progressive alt. rock. I could see it appealing to fans of Anathema and Porcupine Tree. It definitely has that 'Fear of a Blank Planet' feel to it. The only issue is that despite all the cool instrumentation that they use from time to time, the album itself feels a bit bland and one-dimensional a lot of the time.
34Massacre
Back From Beyond


3.1 - Definitely Old school death metal. Individual songs are really good and even a handful at a time can be enjoyable, but the total focus on OSDM makes the album drag as a whole.
35Nervosa
Victim of Yourself


3.0 - Raw, old-school thrash. High energy, semi-sloppy and enjoyable.
36Shores of Null
Quiescence


3.0 - Skirting the line between gothic rock and melodic death metal, with slight progressive moments. They're pretty solid, but they need a stronger hook or something to help them stand out more.
37Diabulus in Musica
Argia


3.0 - Solid symphonic metal -- very similar to old school Epica. Symphonic elements, choirs, death vocals, female vocals, folky sections, power metal sections. Nothing wrong with this at all.
38Jupiter Zeus
On Earth


3.0 - Catchy psychedelic rock. Musically it is really good. I just wish the vocalist was a little more diverse.
39Combichrist
We Love You


3.0 - Abrasive, punky/hardcore electro-industrial. It's definitely a solid release, but it lacks replay value. I miss their older style. Although 'The Evil in Me' is pretty cool.
40Shrapnel (UK)
The Virus Conspires


3.0 - It's like a raw version of Slayer with a few modern tendencies, but with a weaker vocalist.
41Holly Henry
The Immigrant


3.0 - Indie pop from a contestant on The Voice. It's good, but nothing special.
42Motorpsycho
Behind the Sun


3.0 - Musically it Kind of reminds me of pre-Opeth Porcupine Tree. Pretty damn good.
43Morbus Chron
Sweven


3.0 - Musically this is really good. There are a diverse range of styles over the course of the album. I hear black metal, post metal, prog, etc. The vocals kill it for me though. No matter how many times I've tried, the throaty high pitched shout/growl/whatever is just too much.
44Tortorum
Katabasis


3.0 - It's another black metal album. Not great but not bad. Nothing really helps it to stand out.
45Black Mare
Field of the Host


3.0 - Dark kind of alt/post punk/ goth kind of sound. Definitely a pretty unique band, except for the fact that Black Math Horseman kind of do the same thing (better) and even features a lot of the same members.
46Kuolemanlaakso
Tulijoutsen


3.0 - Solid run-of-the-mill doom with occasional shining moments.
47Charlotte Sometimes
By Request


3.0 - Some decent cover songs by a decent indie pop vocalist.
48Glascow Coma Scale
Apophenia


3.0 - Electronic-based post rock. Very smooth, melodic,upbeat and easy to get into.
49Creinium
Project Utopia


3.0 - Basically a death metal/black metal hybrid that is very similar to Graveworm's latter albums (these guys focus a bit more on the death metal, though). Some elements of melodic death metal, as well. A few really cool moments, but mostly just good, non-original stuff.
50Reacta
Refraction


3.0 - This is some decent, mellow, prog with a strong electronic influence. The problem is that the songs don't seem to go anywhere and they're not very memorable.
51Jess Williamson
Native State


3.0 - The best thing this has going for it is that at first glance that album cover totally looks like something else is going on. Otherwise, this is just good, mellow, indie folk.
52Destrage
Are You Kidding Me? No


3.0 - This is some strange, noisy, technical metal. The music is all over the place, but never seems to veer out of control. The biggest hurdle to enjoying the album is the vocals. The death metal vocals are fine, the Devin Townsend-ish metal vocals are fine -- but those screeches make it hard for me to ever come back to this.
53Earth Crisis
Salvation of Innocents


2.9 - It's hardcore with a metal edge. I didn't really hear anything special, though.
54Jessie Frye
Obsidian


2.9 - Run-of-the-mill electro pop. Nothing special but not terrible.
55Crematory
Antiserum


2.7 - 2.7 Very bland electro/industrial gothic death metal. They've done way better and they've done worse.
56Iced Earth
Plagues of Babylon


2.5 - It's Iced Earth doing Iced Earth as only Iced Earth can do.
57Mayan
Antagonise


2.5 - There's nothing really bad about this. It's just kind of average death metal/metalcore/whatever with some keyboards and clean singing that sounds like the guy really wants to be Devin Townsend.
58Scars Divide
Scars Divide


2.5 - If I remember correctly, this was produced by Christian (ex-Fear Factory) and kind of has that vibe to it -- that mainstream modern metal kind of thing going, kind of like Arkaea. Admittedly, this is a bit more technical but it gives you the general idea.
59From Hell
Ascent From Hell


2.5 - This has Paul Bostaph (ex-Forbidden/Slayer) on drums and Steve Smyth on guitars (ex-Nevermore) and yet it isn't all that good. It's very generic thrash with a sub-par vocalist.
60Elysion
Someplace Better


2.5 - Poppy and generic gothic rock. They had a chance on their debut, but they've done nothing with it.
61Grand Magus
Triumph and Power


2.5 - Traditional heavy metal. Something about it just doesn't cross over to the present, though.
62Nocturnal Breed
Napalm Nights


2.5 - This is probably about as good as Black & Roll can get -- which means that it's not terrible.
63Ane Trolle
Honest Wall


2.5 - Just another average indie pop album. Not good but not bad. I wouldn't get up to turn it off or on.
64Enferia
Unsound Dimensions


1.0 - Terrible heavy metal. Totally generic with a vocalist that sounds like a howling dog.
65 Band
Album
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