|Willie's Q1 Listens|
Every 2014 release that I've heard (in my order of quality)
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.
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.
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....
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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
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.
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.
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.
|15||Flotsam 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
|16||Relief in Sleep|
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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
|23||Animals 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).
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.
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.
|26||Rise 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.
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.
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.
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,
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Victim of Yourself
3.0 - Raw, old-school thrash. High energy, semi-sloppy and enjoyable.
|36||Shores of Null|
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.
|37||Diabulus in Musica|
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.
3.0 - Catchy psychedelic rock. Musically it is really good. I just wish the vocalist was a
little more diverse.
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.
The Virus Conspires
3.0 - It's like a raw version of Slayer with a few modern tendencies, but with a
3.0 - Indie pop from a contestant on The Voice. It's good, but nothing special.
Behind the Sun
3.0 - Musically it Kind of reminds me of pre-Opeth Porcupine Tree. Pretty damn good.
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.
3.0 - It's another black metal album. Not great but not bad. Nothing really helps it to
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.
3.0 - Solid run-of-the-mill doom with occasional shining moments.
3.0 - Some decent cover songs by a decent indie pop vocalist.
|48||Glascow Coma Scale|
3.0 - Electronic-based post rock. Very smooth, melodic,upbeat and easy to get into.
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.
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
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.
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.
Salvation of Innocents
2.9 - It's hardcore with a metal edge. I didn't really hear anything special, though.
2.9 - Run-of-the-mill electro pop. Nothing special but not terrible.
2.7 - 2.7
Very bland electro/industrial gothic death metal. They've done way better and they've
Plagues of Babylon
2.5 - It's Iced Earth doing Iced Earth as only Iced Earth can do.
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.
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
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
2.5 - Poppy and generic gothic rock. They had a chance on their debut, but they've
done nothing with it.
Triumph and Power
2.5 - Traditional heavy metal. Something about it just doesn't cross over to the
2.5 - This is probably about as good as Black & Roll can get -- which means that it's
2.5 - Just another average indie pop album. Not good but not bad. I wouldn't get up
to turn it off or on.
1.0 - Terrible heavy metal. Totally generic with a vocalist that sounds like a howling dog.