Matthijs van der Lee

Reviews 219
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Album Edits 2,683

Album Ratings 2848
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Last Active 09-21-14 5:16 am
Joined 07-06-08

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Nagrarok's Top 25 Albums Of 2012

In summation: plenty of great stuff, not enough that amazed me.
The Void

Beardfish are among the many bands that have found their inspiration in the golden days of progressive rock. Yet where most are great copycats at best, this Swedish quartet has now successfully marked its own ground. Following up on 2011?s Mammoth after taking some evolutionary steps, this group has created something that stands as one of 2012?s most memorable records. The Void retains the particular quirks that defined its predecessor, but moved into a substantially heavier direction. Of course it has become somewhat of a trend to opt for a harder-hitting sound on new albums, one which has often led to the conclusion that heavier is certainly not always better, but no such thing can be said here. Beardfish came up with more than an hour?s worth of highly energetic compositions, striking a perfect balance between their newfound metallic edge and their characteristic playfulness. Simply put, The Void should be a delight for any prog rock/metal enthusiast.
Viljans Oga

Amazing symphonic prog album; considering that they?d been broken up for years before getting back together and recording this makes it an even greater accomplishment. Came across this fairly late last year but oh my what a treat it was.
3The Gathering

Although The West Pole was a great album, it was inescapably marked by Anneke van Giersbergen?s departure, making it no easy to task for The Gathering to find the right chemistry with their new vocalist Silje Wergeland. Now she seems to have settled in completely; her distinctive tone and voice are without doubt the lead component on Disclosure, which sees the band repurposing their atmospheric nature to excellent results.
Clockwork Angels

It?s been called their best album in years, and for once that statement is actually true. Getting rid of loud production doesn?t seem to be on Rush?s priority list, but with the quality that?s on display here, that?s a relatively minor complaint. As consistent as they?ve somehow managed to be throughout a good 40 years of working their trade, Clockwork Angels? return to older form earned it a deservedly warm welcome.
5The Tallest Man on Earth
There's No Leaving Now

The day that The Tallest Man releases a bad album seems very far off. Kristian Matsson continues to make some wonderful music with little more than a guitar and his voice.
The Seer

A beast of a record indeed. The Seer?s massive length is befitting of its nature, and though I can agree it is one of 2012?s best, I don?t hear a masterpiece.
In Dreams and Time

Admittedly it tends to drag and repeat itself during some moments, but the powerful atmosphere makes up for it. A sludgy/psychedelic kind of prog that became an early favourite last year.
8Killing Joke

The ominous vibe that constantly drives MMXII is the work of experienced craftsmen. As post-punk veterans, Killing Joke make it clear that they?re still the best at what they do.

Stoner rock of a particularly catchy, energetic variety.
10High on Fire
De Vermis Mysteriis

Unwavering in its heaviness, which is what makes it great.
11Witch Mountain
Cauldron of the Wild

Witch Mountain are firmly rooted in the traditional, bluesy form of doom metal. Though clearly Sabbath-esque, the band?s sound is their own, with the female lead vocals being a very positive standout.
12Orange Goblin
A Eulogy for the Damned

Damn solid stoner metal album that?s highly enjoyable throughout.

Wasn?t sure how much I would like this, but it kicked in eventually.
14Neal Morse

Morse?s lyrics and vocals may not be to everyone?s liking, but the man knows how to make a prog album.
Dark Roots of Earth

Testament are still in fine form, making a modern thrash album that?s as great as any modern thrash album will get. Unless you?re still expecting another The New Order at some point, Dark Roots is anything but a disappointment.
Departure Songs

Post-rock at its best, though it?s stretched just a little too far.
Dead End Kings

This definitely stuck with me more than Night is the New Day, although it still didn?t draw me in quite as much as I would have liked it to.
18In Mourning
The Weight of Oceans

Progressive melodic death metal done the right way.
Weather Systems

As has been noted, Anathema seem too focused on refining things here. Since Weather Systems has been so carefully put together, it lacks the same edge that made We?re Here Because We?re Here compelling in the first place.
The Electric Age

Overkill?s newest release probably received slightly less attention than Testament?s, but their work is quality all the same. As opposed to most of their peers, they?ve never seen much sense in straying from their known formula. The Electric Age is another fine barrage of riffs and screeching vocals.
21Christian Mistress

Comparable to Witch Mountain in that both bands have an old-fashioned metal sound, as well as a female lead singer. This much more of a ?classic? heavy metal affair, and a fun one at that.

Revealed itself to be a positively moody and well-executed debut after a few listens.
23Van Halen
A Different Kind of Truth

Did exactly what it needed to do, namely sounding like a real Van Halen album. A great surprise it was.
Of Breath and Bone

Even though they?re not doing anything revolutionary, this band continues to put out a relatively fresh brand of melodic death metal.
March of Ghosts

This is good, but fails to produce enough distinguishable tracks.
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