|Willie's Q1 Top 50|
I listen to a lot of music. Here is the best 50 of the first quarter.
Shores of the Abstract Line
These guys do a blend of proggy post metal and Djent, with mellow atmospheric moments and spoken word parts. The overall sound has definitely improved and so have the vocals. The big change is that the mellower moments actually fit the songs and are entertaining parts of the whole.
|2||Circle of Dust|
Circle of Dust (Remastered)
Finally they've remastered their debut album. It sounds much better and blends with the rest of my music when on shuffle. One of the best blends of industrial and metal out there.
The Art of Loss
Excellently heavy progressive metal that features Ray Alder of Fates Warning and no less than three ex-Megadeth guitarists, including Chris Poland.
Atmospheric and progressive post metal. There are a lot of instrumental sections on this album, but where there are vocals they are actual singing and not your typical raspy shout.
For All Kings
Like a cross between Persistance of Time and Worship Music. Riffy and relentless like PoT, but catchy and song-oriented like Worship Muisc. Definitely the best they've done since PoT.
Voivod have finally released the first new material of their career without their founding guitarist. So how is it? It's great. The first four tracks sound like classic Killing Technology/Dimension Hatross-era tunes, while the final track could have been lifted directly from Angel Rat with a slightly more progressive edge. We'll all miss Piggy, but it appears Voivod aren't going anywhere.
I feel like I'm listening to the same album over and over again. These guys really are a one-trick pony. They do an ultra-melodic, symphonic industrial-death metal thing, and they do it really well... over and over and over.
Kind of a tech metal/metalcore sound. Definitely more on the tech/prog side of things, though. Really good stuff.
Kamelot meets Practice-era Testament meets Galactic Cowboys. Huge proggy songs, blazing solos, tons of riffs and huge infectious choruses. The singer does really remind me of what 80s era Chuck Billy could sound like if he sang, ha ha.There's even some death metal vocals to accentuate the singing.
All My Demons Greeting Me as a Friend
Very chill, slightly dark electro-pop with female vocals. Similar to stuff like Kerli, Bjork, Florence + The Machine, Ladytron, etc.
Riffy black metal from the frontman of Immortal. It's nothing extraordinary, but it's definitely a solid and consistent album.
More moody progressive metal than black metal these days, but there's still a decent amount of that black metal sound. Definitely an album that requires a few listens.
There's some awesome musicianship on here and it's probably their most diverse album, but they're still basically a one-trick pony.
I've always had a soft spot for these guys, despite the fact that there's nothing extraordinary about them. This is some great, chugging melodic metalcore. It will definitely be added to my gym playlist.
Epic symphonic death metal with growls and clean singing. It's really good in the moment, but it all kinds of blends together by the end.
Commitment to Complications
This reminds me of 'Addiction'-era Skinny Puppy goes digital hardcore. Musically it is really good, which shouldn't be a surprise since Rhys Fulber (Front Line Assembly, Fear Factory) produced it. The stickler is the monotone shouted vocals. They're not bad, but they need to diversify the vocal delivery.
|17||Oceans of Slumber|
Kind of a blend of doom, post metal and prog with female singing and occasional male shouts/growls. There are some really good songs on here, but a few that are a little weak. I see good things for this band.
I'm not a Killswitch Engage fan. I'm a fan of 'Alive or Just Breathing' and 'Disarm the Descent' because of Jesse's vocals and the heavier musical direction. Their crooning, melodic stuff with the other guy bores me to death. Musically, that's basically what they've gone back to except with Jesse on vocals. He helps make this listenable, but not nearly as good as the other two releases that he has sang on.
Borknagar have pretty much perfected their progressive black metal sound while they slowly move closer to the prog side of the house. I really like all the vocalists they have on this release.
I really like this release. It's dark with a lot of atmosphere. I'm not a hip hop fan, but I'm a Sadistik fan.
I'm a big fan of this band, but I've liked each new release a little less than the one before it. This one is still pretty great, but it is a little too streamlined for my taste. I liked the bigger risks on the first two releases.
Proggy Djent with some traditional metal influences. Not bad, but kind of two-dimensional.
|23||Hope For the Dying|
Another dose of well-done progressive death metal/metalcore. It's basically the same thing they've been doing since the beginning and maybe it's just starting to get a bit old, because I can't really hear any reason to like this less than their last two releases, but I do anyway.
A Head Full of Moonlight
This band features former members of Tesseract, The Safety Fire, and Architects UK. That should give you a good idea what they sound like already. Basically they sound like a cross between Coheed and Cambria and Art By Numbers. Good alt prog.
It's not as good as the classics or even Endgame, but it is definitely better than anything else they've done. Also, one of the more consistently good Megadeth albums ever released. I like Dave's deeper growl on this album.
I Did Something Bad
Post-Punk meets Industrial. Kind of reminds me of a cross between New Model Army and Ministry with a bit of Lights, Camera, Revolution-era Suicidal thrown in. The song titles are dumb, but the music is pretty cool.
So, they call this dark hardcore. I kind of thought it sounded like a hardcore band influenced by old-school Paradise Lost, so I guess that works.
These guys (and girl) definitely aren't the pop-punk band that we knew on previous albums. They're now a slick pop band with occasional flirtations with alt rock. It works, though.
The kings of moody doom/prog have returned and pick up right where they left off. The music and black metal vocals are still really good, but the clean singing is still way too monotone to allow these songs to get to the next level.
This is solid metalcore with a great vocalist. I never heard their previous albums, so I have no idea how this compares.
Rust & Bone
These guys used to be one of the more entertaining doom bands. Almost like a more modern My Dying Bride with a better vocalist. This one drags, though, because only two of the songs are any good.
|32||Silence the Messenger|
Well done, but two-dimensional, death metal/metalcore. Good for working out to, but probably not for constant active listening.
|33||Deep Sea Diver|
Cute Indie Pop with lush melodies.
Heir to Scoria and Ash
Some excellent, dark and expansive black metal. What I can't get past are the abstract screeching vocals. I love the music though, so they're going to have to do.
X (No Absolutes)
This is a heavier, darker, thrashier version of the Prong that most people would be used to. It's still nothing spectacular, but it's better than they've been in awhile.
Rise Above the Meadow
70s/stoner rock with some pretty good musicanship (especially the drummer). I just have a hard time getting in to this kind of music, but this was still enjoyable.
Dark, atmosheric funeral doom. It's nothing extraordinary, but it's still pretty good.
|38||The Mute Gods|
Do Nothing Till You Hear From Me
These guys remind me of Pure Reason Revolution. Kind of a electro-disco progressive kind of sound.
It's safe, unconfrontational ultra-melodic death metal by the numbers. That doesn't mean it's not good.
Kind of fuzzy, electro indie pop that almost borders on dream pop. Good stuff.
|41||The Big Pink|
Poppy electro-alternative is probably the best way to describe this. I liked their debut, but wasn't a fan of their second release. This EP puts them back on track with atmospheric poppy alternative with some good beats.
All That You Fear is Gone
Kind of equal parts modern and traditional prog. I hear pieces of Porcupine Tree, Dream Theater, and even Pain of Salvation, but there's nothing that will grab ahold of you and keep you coming back.
Electronic soundscapes that never drop into overly quiet or repetitive territory. The 'songs' are very lush and melodic, but still feel similar to Sven Vath or Future Sound of London.
|44||Face to Face|
I'm not overly familiar with this band, but their new album is basically just well-played modern punk rock.
|45||The Starting Line|
It's good, so that's a step up for this band. I really liked their debut, but they lost me after that. This is a step in the right direction.
Massive Attack return with another streamlined trip hop album. I prefer the dense sound of their earlier stuff.
Really noisy alt. rock/post hardcore. It’s good, but a little too grating for me.
This is Delain doing what they've always done. Mainstream female-fronted metal with a symphonic element. If you've liked them before you'll like them now… and the opposite is true, too.
|49||Karma to Burn|
It's cool instrumental stoner rock. It's just not enough without vocals (and the vocals on the 4th track are too little too late).