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Last Active 12-17-17 11:52 pm
Joined 07-09-07

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09.17.17 Willie's 2017 So Far 07.13.17 Willie Turns 10
10.06.16 3 Quarters -- What's Missing? 11.29.15 Willie's Final 2015
11.26.13 Top 50 Of 2013 11.09.11 Top 50 Of 2011
07.09.11 Willie Turns 4 02.21.11 Willie's Essentials
01.21.11 Users' Best Of The Decade12.13.10 2010 - Finalized
09.09.10 Underrated Albums 07.09.10 Willie Turns 3
06.15.10 Willie's 90 For The 90s06.08.10 Willie's Decade List
01.18.10 Willie's Guide To Industrial07.10.09 Willie Turns 2

Willie's 2017 So Far

These are my top albums of the year, so far. These are the albums I've rated 3.4 or higher, in order. As always, recommendations are welcome.
1Pain of Salvation
In the Passing Light of Day

4.5 - For those that feel like this band went off the deep end somewhere around Be, this is total redemption. I hear the heaviness of Entropia, the epic-ness of Concrete Lake, the ultra-catchy melodies of Perfect Element, and the emotion of Remedy Lane... but this is better than all of those. All the youthful mistakes and Dream Theater wanking that would ruin songs in the past is gone.
2Caligula's Horse
In Contact

4.5 - I haven't heard any of the older albums because the band name is kind of stupid, and so I assumed the music was just as bad. These guys remind me of modern prog bands like Tesseract mixed with the traditional prog of bands like Porcupine Tree and Riverside, and they manage to take the absolute best from both versions of the genre.
The Assassination of Julius Caesar

4.5 - My favorite Ulver tracks have always been the ones with vocals. This whole album has vocals and it kind of mixes their Blood Inside sound with an almost 80s style synth pop sound. Definitely another new sound for them.
I'm Only Dreaming

4.0 - Eisley have gone back to the chill, melody-drenched, sound of their first two releases and it's a welcome return. Easily their best since Room Noises.

4.0 - Awesome technical death metal that transitions between chaotic dissonance and disonant atmospherics. The key here is the unrelenting heaviness…. And dissonance; defintely dissonant.
6Cradle of Filth
Cryptoriana – The Seductiveness of Decay

4.0 - Cradle of Filth prove their previous release wasn't a fluke or tempered by low expectations. This one takes everything that was good about that album and pushes it through a 'Vempire'-style filter while also making what is easily their most musically dense album. Every song has multiple awesome riffs, great melodies, and (surprisingly) every song has some really awesome solos. This album definitely puts the band back at the top of their game.

3.7 - Leprous is a Norwegian progressive metal band formed in 2001 in Notodden, Norway. They originally made their mark as Ihsahn's (Emperor vocalist/guitarist) backing band in live situations. Don't let that mislead you, though, because Leprous don't play progressive black metal. Their first four albums could broadly be categorized as the kind of quirky progressive metal that only seems to come from Norway, but even that doesn't describe Malina. On Malina, Leprous has dropped any pretense of simply being a progressive metal band and opened their sound to elements only hinted at before -- mainly electronic music. It shouldn't surprise fans of the band that this has finally happened considering the band count Radiohead, Massive Attack, and The Prodigy among more standard influences such as Porcupine Tree and The Dillinger Escape Plan.

3.7 - Anomalie's debut was definitely on the primitive side of the post black metal genre, but there was something endearing about it as well. The sophomore release didn't really build on that foundation, and kind of felt like a step back -- Visions definitely builds on the band's promise. It takes the melodic post black metal foundation of the debut and expands on it to include more melody, heavier riffs, and an all around more entertaining listen without any of the dead spots that plague most post black metal music.
9In Reverence
The Selected Breed

3.7 - Meldodic, Aggressive, atmospheric, and diverse. Everything a good progressive death metal album should be. Excellent production, too.
10Within the Ruins
Halfway Human

3.7 - These guys play Djenty, techy, metalcore; that hasn't changed. They are definitely getting better and better with every release, though, and the addition of clean vocals is definitely welcome.

3.6 - Kind of reminds me of a heavier version of Flyleaf's debut without any screaming. Having said that, this album also seems to be a little saturated with power ballads which is why the score drops a little bit. The female vocalist definitely has some range and will probably be the point that makes people either enjoy it or dismiss it.
12The Birthday Massacre
Under Your Spell

3.5 - Easily The Birthday Massacre's most subdued album and not nearly as instant as anything they've done before. This one is going to take more than a few listens to truly start getting into, which is hard to do, because at first everything seems to blend together with the same tempo and vocal delivery. It's worth the extra 'work' though.

3.5 - The album definitely has a cool sci-fi vibe that runs through it. I love all the really well done synth and the drummer is all over the place. If there is something that make take some time to appreciate, its the vocals... but they do fit these songs perfectly.
AFI (The Blood Album)

3.5 - I've never really liked AFI. The vocalist used to sound like an angry chipmunk. This album is good, though. They've changed their sound to a more post punk kind of sound that reminds me of New Model Army or certain The Cure tracks. Definitely a welcome direction, as fas as I am concerned.
15Felix Martin
Mechanical Nations

3.5 - So, this guy plays all sorts of funky looking guitars and delivers some of the coolest instrumental music I've ever heard. It's not metal by any stretch of the imagination, but it definitely has an edge. It's like progressive rock/jazz/metal/unique shit. The twitchy rhythmic nature of the songs and the out of left field melodies just appeal to me.
Renaissance in Extremis

3.5 - Akercocke make their comback. Honestly, I've never really heard their other stuff so I don't know how it compares, but I do know this is so really well done, unique, progressive death metal.
17The Monolith Deathcult
Versus I

3.5 - Monolith Deathcult have an interesting sound. They play industrialized atmospheric death metal that is also pretty progressive. They do it really well, too, but it's just a little too repetitive.

3.5 - It's like a 50/50 split of modern prog and technical death metal, but without any of the excesses of either genre. Very well done and surprisingly melodic while still being pretty damn riffy.
19Distant Landscape

3.5 - After "Night is the New Day" Katatonia decided to take their compact little sound and expand it with progressive and atmospheric elements. For everyone that thought that it was a good idea, but hated the actual execution, there is Distant Landscape. This was the sound I had in mind when I was reading about Katatonia taking their sound in a more atmospheric/progressive kind of direction.

3.4 - This reminds me of a more accessible and mainstream version of Vildhjarta meets Killswitch Engage. The tones and the groove are very Vildhjarta-like, but the songs are accessible and catchy like Killswitch.
The Place I Feel Safest

3.4 - Modern Prog/Djent/Metal. There's nothing that really sets these guys apart from all the similar bands, but the level of conviction and talent is definitely up there.
22Power Trip
Nightmare Logic

3.4 - Old school thrash with some really cool riffs. The vocals could be better and all the songs are roughly similar, but it's still really good.
23Kamikaze Girls

3.4 - Grungy, abrasive female fronted post punk/alt. rock. I like it. Throughout the album I heard The God Machine, Hum, Nirvana, The Pixies , and The Cure but it's all wrapped up in a more abrasive sound and washed in shoegaze feedback.
24Ghost Key
If I Don't Make It

3.4 - Really well done melodic hardcore. The coolest part of this is that the melodic parts aren't just your normal standard melodic lead. They're more of a post rock/reverb-drenched kind of thing that gives this release a unique edge.
As Embers Turn to Dust

3.4 - I'm sorry. Enough is enough. This is the same fucking thing as before and before and before. Is it good? Yeah, it's good. Is it in any way a deviation or even a continuation of their sound? No.... it's the exact same album they keep releasing. It's time to seriously sit down and figure out how to think outside of their tired (albeit good) formula.
26Ghost Toast
Out of This World

3.4 - Very good post rock with a progressive edge. It is also very melodic and catchy without being repetitive. Another thing this album has going for it is that the songs feel like they're focused and not just a meandering jam like a lot of post rock.
27Mors Principium Est
Embers Of A Dying World

3.4 - Really solid melodic death metal with a strong keyboard presence and occasional black metal influences. Unfortunately, with few exceptions, it is largely by-the-numbers stuff.
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