bludngorevidal
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Reviews 2
Approval 100%

Soundoffs 243
Album Ratings 1210
Objectivity 75%

Last Active 03-26-21 6:05 pm
Joined 03-19-20

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Average Rating: 3.50
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Objectivity Score: 75%
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5.0 classic
Atheist Unquestionable Presence
The single most important and influential tech death album ever recorded, but even more importantly a landmark for metal as a whole. The jazz influences Atheist embrace and express on Unquestionable Presence paved the way for every metal band composed of ex-jazz or jazz trained musicians to confront their upbringings and non-metal interests in a positive way. Unquestionable Presence is the most significant early example, and its relevance is no smaller today in a metal world populated by such diverse jazz-inflected artists such as Imperial Triumphant, Pyrrhon, TDEP, and even Mr. Bungle.
Botch We Are the Romans
No one can ever take the success of WAtR from Botch. Over 20 years later, this record is as listenable as ever; the crunching riffs, dissonant interludes, passionate vocals, smirking attitude, and, best of them all, unmatched songwriting chops are all still there. As much as we all love Jane Doe, WAtR came first, and it fused chaos with calculation. Mathcore wouldn't be mathcore, TDEP wouldn't be TDEP, and a million other imitators would have stayed in their garages covering Mastodon if it weren't for Botch.
Built to Spill Perfect from Now On
Forever timeless. Densely layered, richly textured, beautifully performed indie rock. Produced with that hazy, junior summer veneer that is so immediate it might as well be a time machine. A true vehicle of transportation.
Death Symbolic
How else can you rate the crowning achievement of death metal? There are few genre-beating albums that readily come to my mind (Vektor's Terminal Redux for thrash, for one), but Symbolic is undeniably death metal's centerpiece. An endless supply of riffs, variable song structures, crunch, throat-pulverizing harshes. Blood Incantation would be a mathcore band if it weren't for Death's trailblazing efforts.
Der Weg Einer Freiheit Finisterre
This is black metal near or even at its peak. Superb production, emotionally moving to an almost unthinkable degree, wizard-like drumming, and precisely calculated tremolos...this record is a feast for the ears.
Dir En Grey Uroboros
Simultaneously experimental and cohesive, Uroboros is surely Dir En Grey's masterpiece. But it's not just the near-flawless execution -- Dir En Grey explain themselves on this record. It's a mishmash of Eastern stylings and cleverly reworked metal tropes; it defines Japanese metal just as Buck-Tick defined Japanese rock years earlier.
Gorguts Obscura
My mind oscillates between handing the crown of best DM record to Symbolic or to Obscura. Certainly, Obscura is the more rewarding listen IMO. Each spin reveals a heretofore unknown lick, melody, rhythmic change, or some other musical Easter egg. In terms of pure depth and re-listenability, Obscura always takes the cake.
Gospel The Moon Is a Dead World
Vladimir Nabokov was talking about anything but this record when he said that art has no importance to the society, only to the individual. The Moon Is a Dead World is a true testament to the power music can have both to a community and to one person. This may be the single most hyperbolic sound off I've ever given, but I will never ever not be blown away by what Gospel accomplish with this record. A masterful fusion of progressive rock, post/core, and a psychedelic production style that grips the listener from end to end. I want this album to be buried with me.
maudlin of the Well Bath
Revisiting my 5s lately, and bath still stands out as singularly engrossing, from conceptual and emotional standpoints alike. bath is monumental. No other album is as successfully or as convincingly chameleonic. The lore is rich and complex. The record fits seamlessly within Toby's and maudlin's catalogues alike. God, this is beautiful
Night Verses From the Gallery of Sleep
Phenomenal album. Since I first heard it I've been trying to contextualize the album outside of the music contained within, but I'd betray my status as a music reviewing dilettante if I even attempted to put words to paper here. This record is grace, weight, fury, passion, and dreams. Night Verses's members are in sync instrumentally insofar as they're all kicking absolute ass at every second. I don't know if they can top this, but I sure as hell hope they try.
The Jimi Hendrix Experience Are You Experienced

4.5 superb
Acid Bath When the Kite String Pops
Air Moon Safari
Akercocke Words That Go Unspoken...
Akercocke Renaissance in Extremis
Akhlys Melinoe
Between Akhlys, Respire, and Yashira, December has been a true holiday gift to Listeners Of The Faith. God damn this slaps
Alexisonfire Watch Out!
Amia Venera Landscape The Long Procession
Aside from the oft-mentioned superfluous ambient passage, The Long Procession is a hallmark of artistically crafted metal music. Amia Venera Landscape's landmark EP is a tour de force, simply put. The record is replete with exquisite moments of post-metal beauty, math-enhanced riffage, pummeling harsh vocals, and phenomenal rhythms. This record lies at the intersection of three overstuffed genres and could easily sit at the top of best-of lists for any of them, it's that good. Shame about those ambient passages for their derailment of the album's 'procession' - this thing would be a true classic otherwise.
Anata Under a Stone With No Inscription
Animals As Leaders Animals as Leaders
AAL set the standard for progressive metal way back when, and it's remarkable how well their self-titled debut holds up. To this day, this record remains their strongest release, even though Tosin is the only member really firing on all cylinders here. Though I tend not to be too fond of overt technical wankery, Tosin's fret wizardry is unparalleled in its compositional complexity, nuance, and stylistic blend. This is one of my favorite albums of the 2000s and I'm not shy about being a fanboy.
Animals As Leaders The Joy of Motion
AAL's return to form after a disappointing second outing, The Joy of Motion has some of the highest of highs skyrocketing into the progressive metal pantheon (Tooth and Claw and Woven Web, to name names). While there are some less memorable stretches, this is an album of extremely complex yet subtly shifting tones, impeccable musicianship, and a generally lush and friendly tone. AAL cohere on this album and write music that emphasizes the supporting cast's strengths while accentuating Tosin's wizardry. If Weightless was a disappointment, their third effort is pure joy.
Art Blakey Moanin'
ASIDEFROMADAY Chasing Shadows
At the Drive-In Relationship of Command
Behemoth The Satanist
Between the Buried and Me Alaska
All these years later and Alaska remains king of all BTBAM albums to me. It's got the most cohesive sound, the most universal concept, and the most consistent energy. Yet Alaska isn't just an exercise in dependability. Each track stands out in its own way, almost to the point where you could have reasonably played me any cut prior to my first listen and convinced me what I just heard was a lead single. This album is phenomenal, and I will never forgive BTBAM for not playing Selkies the last time I saw them.
Between the Buried and Me Colors
Birds in Row We Already Lost The World
Black Eyes Black Eyes
Black Matter Device Modern Frenetics
Blood Incantation Hidden History of the Human Race
Brutus (BE) Nest
Timeless and genre-surpassing. Check the components: Mannaerts' vocals and drumming; Stijn's guitar; Peters' bass; each member executes their elements to near-full potential. The songwriting is superb, catchy, and moving while retaining a rawness that is central to Brutus' appeal and style. This record doesn't waste a single note and stays fresh listen after listen.
BUCK-TICK Darker Than Darkness (Style 93)
Built to Spill Keep It Like a Secret
Burst Lazarus Bird
Post-metal as the post-metal gods intended, Lazarus Bird is a feast for the ears. Wonderfully alternated passages of clean melodies, heavy riffage, and wonderfully varied vocals keep the listener's interest piqued at all times. This is the record Psychonaut wish they put out. It's genre defining, genre defying, and a massive precedent setter.
Burst Origo
Car Bomb Meta
Might be buying into the Car Bomb mystique but jeepers how can you not? Meta is simultaneously full of ponderous riffage, undulating rhythms (including a hint of time signature-wonkery), and deliciously complex structure. There's not a dud in the tracklist on Meta; Car Bomb put the cumulative sum of all of their talent into this one, IMO.
Car Seat Headrest Twin Fantasy (Face to Face)
Cara Neir Part III / Part IV
Catch 22 Keasbey Nights
As I've mentioned in another rating, I outgrew my ska phase back in high school. Goldfinger, Reel Big Fish, and company just don't cut it for me anymore.rDespite this, I still occasionally return to Keasbey Nights. Something about the unbridled youthful energy, relatable (for a high schooler) lyrics, consistent quality from track to track, and generally solid ska instrumentation make this album just so enjoyable. I will always prefer the Catch 22 version to the Streetlight version, mostly because the previously mentioned youthful energy is such a huge part of what makes this album so great.
Charles Mingus Mingus Ah Um
Mingus and his crew craft a sublime showcase of both recognizable tunes and complex instrumental interplay. This album pleases jazz neophytes and aficionados alike for its combination of the above; it may not be a member of the eternal jazz classical echelon, but it's a fantastic piece of music composed and performed by some of the greatest jazz players.
Charles Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus
Charles Mingus Tijuana Moods
Circle Takes the Square As the Roots Undo
City of Caterpillar City of Caterpillar
Complex, emotive, an utterly influential phenomenon --- and like that, City of Caterpillar were gone. It's a shame these masterful blacksmiths of p-h/p-r didn't leave us with more material to gush over, but what kind of superhuman beings could have sustained the sort of momentum they established with their self-titled? This thing is a once-in-a-career gem, genre-defining, genre-defying, and imitator-spawning. CoC join the likes of Gospel with this record, and I shouldn't have to explain why.
Converge All We Love We Leave Behind
Converge Jane Doe
Corelia Nostalgia
Perhaps my favorite progcore album, Nostalgia left me craving more Corelia and it's a shame that they're apparently defunct. Ryan Devlin stars in this album with stellar clean and harsh vocals, and this is what really sells the album for me. I've listened to this countless times through and never get sick of it, and Devlin's soaring cleans and variegated harshes are so, so sweet on the ear. rAlso, can't believe I got this far without mentioning Borrell and Dower's guitarwork, not to mention Pratt's drumming. For the sake of being succinct, let's say they're plenty a match for Devlin's singing talents. This has been a disjointed rating but that's probably because I'm listening to this EP for the millionth time. Only knock is that it ain't long enough.
Cynic Traced in Air
Cynic Focus
Darkest Hour Deliver Us
Fabulous totem of the melodeath scene. Deliver Us is a triumphant achievement in that it crystallized the defining characteristics of an extremely prolific genre extremely well and yet separates itself from the pack by virtue of its superb execution.
David Bowie Station to Station
Death Individual Thought Patterns
Deathspell Omega Paracletus
BM isn't my typical genre, and as such when one of the main selling points of an album is its atmospheric nature my suspicions tend to rise. That being said, Deathspell Omega generate atmosphere through such a stunning combination of atonal riffage, borderline avant garde rhythm, and general complexity that I can't help it. Atmosphere, here, is the key ingredient in making this album such a fantastic listen. The record is compact - nothing turns me on like a compact record - and I daresay this is one of, if not my favorite BM albums.
Defeater Travels
Delta Sleep Twin Galaxies
Demilich Nespithe
Love me a cool glass of refreshing, burbly, muddy TDM. Nespithe ain't for the weak bc it's for the strong. Nespithe Nespithe Nespithe Nespithe
Demoniac (CHL) So It Goes
Starts out with the most perfectly executed if straightforward thrash (by the numbers, but oh
those numbers are painted sweetly), and careens into glory one rung by rung at each track. By
the close, you're strapped in for a 20 minute finale of Wallacian proportions. Segueing from
Demoniac's tried and true blackened thrash to a multi-instrumental feast of which clarinet is
king and with extended technically demanding passages on the all the mainstream
instruments...good lord. The feat of composition on display here is astounding. The
production suits the style immaculately in its less-than-polished tone. The riffs bang and
crunch. The drums beat a deep footprint the earth. Assuredly one of thrash's most exciting
releases in recent memory.
Dionaea Still
Don Caballero American Don
Donald Byrd Ethiopian Knights
Earthside A Dream In Static
Emery ...In Shallow Seas We Sail
END (USA-NJ) Splinters From An Ever-Changing Face
*metaphor about album hittting/slapping/punching/brutalizing your face* *slight return to Earth to
mention brevity of record* "this makes me feel like a little girl on her way to school getting
absolutely smacked by a school bus"
Envy The Fallen Crimson
Unsure as to what else I can throw onto the pile here that hasn't been said already. The Fallen Crimson is a brilliant effort chock full to the brim of so many attributes that elevate an album above its peers - especially important given the competitive playing field where Envy resides. Chief among these attributes are Tetsuya Fukagawa's persuasively emotive vocals, Hiroki Watanabe's forceful and technical drumming (check out Fingerprint mark), a genuine diversity of sounds across the record, and aurally pleasing fusion of post-rock and hardcore. I'm a new Envy fan, sad that I'm likely catching them at the end of their game, but hopeful for more just like this.
Envy All the Footprints You've Ever Left and the Fear Expecting Ahead
Exotic Animal Petting Zoo Tree of Tongues
Record is positively gripping from beginning to end, with exciting fretwork, a riveting mixture of tempos, finely juxtaposed harshes to cleans, and a solid melody underpinning it all. EAPZ is TDEP in a k hole.
Exotic Animal Petting Zoo I Have Made My Bed in Darkness
Fall of Efrafa Owsla
Fear Before The Always Open Mouth
I don't have to write anything to justify this rating. It's a stalwart of the early 2000s MxC/post-HxC scene for good reason. This belongs in the pantheon.
Fishmans Uchuu Nippon Setagaya
Sublime and gorgeous, Fishmans provide a soundtrack to daydreaming, to working, and to playing. I sound hyperbolic but UNS provides such flexible listening, with the common denominator being that breezing through the tracks elevates the mood while calming the listener. Eminently accessible, but in the best way.
Frank Zappa Hot Rats
Funeral Diner The Underdark
If you translate "Vi som lskade varandra s mycket" into English you get "Funeral Diner"
Gaerea Limbo
Innovative or not, groundbreaking or not, Gaerea deserve praise for the phenomenal execution on this album. They steer the listener through an intimidating tracklist bookended by two monsters, weaving in cascades of emotive peaks and valleys. Death/black fusion can be so samey sounding, and it's refreshing that Limbo succeed in interlocking these two genres so well. What's holding this album up from true greatness? Those claims of derivativeness/hero worship do carry weight, unfortunately, but that doesn't stop Limbo from being a whopper of a listen. I'd give this a 4.2 if I could. rEDIT: This has grown on me. Bumping to a 4.5.
Glassjaw Worship and Tribute
Gojira From Mars to Sirius
Grizzly Bear Veckatimest
Growth (AUS) The Smothering Arms Of Mercy
Yes, it's a superb end-of-year sneak attack; yes, it's an incredibly mature opening album; yes, it's another sublime installment in 2020's seemingly never-ending series of dissonant technical metal albums. Growth executes each of these tropes to impressive heights, and then some. At risk of pushing this sound-off to review length, let me congeal my thoughts on Growth's debut into a sticky list of simple descriptors: impeccably produced (especially those drums), tightly cohesive but not samey, packed to the brim with riffs, consistently high caliber from track to track, concerned with highly salient subject matter... I could go on and on, but I won't. Give these guys your attention ASAP
Hail Spirit Noir Oi Magoi
This is like if Gospel returned as a black metal band. Superb and stunning and super awesome and a whole bunch of other great S-words.
Hail the Sun New Age Filth
All I gotta say is, thank god for Ad Nauseam or I'd have a swancore release threatening AOTY in Q2 2021...
ichika I
I unabashedly love this album. After a string of sparse yet pretty EPs consisting entirely of his signature daintily agile fretwork, Ichika releases an undeniably catchy EP bolstered by a feature list of Japanese pop artists. This EP is such a far leap from the rest of his discog, even though his playing essentially stays the same. Each track showcases a different vocalist, and the welcome addition of poppy beats and electronic elements round out the sound much better than I expected. Ichika's fairylike guitarwork complements the vocalists here - notice the order of my phrasing. He wisely places his guitar off center in the mix, and while it features, it does more to amplify the singers. The bottom line is that I thoroughly enjoy this EP, and may make it my first review if Sput accepts this album.
Immolation Close to a World Below
Imperial Triumphant Alphaville
Alphaville is the future that Jane Jacobs/libruls/lefties/YIMBYs want. Buy now!
ISIS Panopticon
ISIS Oceanic
Johnny Booth Firsthand Accounts
One of my all-time favorite HC releases. Firsthand Accounts blows me away every time I listen to it for its ferocity, catchiness, and general synthesis of the HC spirit. Who am I kidding, though? This is one of the best drumming performances of any drummer, ever. Period.
Johnny Booth Connections
Joliette Luz Devora
Mexico's version of The Moon is a Dead World. Yes, I said it. Yes, I meant it.
Joliette Principia
Kvelertak Kvelertak
La Quiete La fine non è la fine
La Quiete 2006 / 2009
Mammal Hands Floa
Floa is Mammal Hands at their peak. It's more cohesive than their bookend releases, with excellent flow and interplay between the instruments (catch the saxophone!). Both an easy background listen and a turn-off-the-lights-and-focus listen
maudlin of the Well Leaving Your Body Map
Metallica Ride the Lightning
Miles Davis Filles de Kilimanjaro
Miles Davis In a Silent Way
Misery Signals Of Malice and the Magnum Heart
Misery Signals Controller
Mitochondrion Archaeaeon
Motorpsycho The All Is One
Neurosis Times of Grace
No Note if this is the future then I'm in the dark
Noise Trail Immersion Symbology of Shelter
Nord The Only Way To Reach The Surface
Nord (FRA) The Only Way To Reach The Surface
I really, really, really wanted to 4 this record. I've spun it quite a few times over the past few days with the intent of pinpointing what exactly grabs me about Nord's sound; failing that, I would force myself to rate this record lower than the emotive response it elicits in me seemed to merit. I gave it another go today, and I can at least lay out some facts. Nord blend Fall of Troy-style math rock with a hefty dash of post-rock guitar crescendos, post-metal soundscapes, a bevy of prog metal song structures, and, of course, French-accented clean vocals. The title track, a massive quarter-hour piece to close the album, encapsulates a lot of Nord's sound, but I'd still recommend a full listen from end to end to capture the full experience. This is a special piece of music, and I won't shy away from enjoying it as much as I can.
Nujabes Modal Soul
Old Nick A New Generation Of Vampiric Conspiracies
Olivier Messiaen Quatuor Pour la Fin du Temps
Opeth Blackwater Park
Ornette Coleman The Shape of Jazz to Come
Did Dedex write the wikipedia entry for this after coming up with his soundoff? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Shape_of_Jazz_to_Come
Panzerfaust The Suns of Perdition - Chapter II
Pg. 99 Document #8
Polyphia New Levels New Devils
I'm an unabashed Polyphia fanboy. I don't even care to term my affinity for the Texas-originating group a guilty pleasure. I strongly feel that Tim Henson is incredibly in tune with modern music, and his injection of pop and hip-hop sensibilities into Polyphia's mathy foundation is an admirable accomplishment. There are so many bangers on this record - OD, Nasty, Bad, Saucy, Rich Kids, G.O.AT. - that I can't help but rate this one highly. I'm eagerly anticipating Polyphia's next record and have full expectations that they'll surpass NLND.
Portishead Dummy
Primus Frizzle Fry
Radiohead OK Computer
Refused The Shape of Punk to Come
Respire Black Line
Return to Forever Return to Forever
I spin this all the time because it's such a compositional beauty. One of the most influential keyboardists ever at his peak performing with other jazz maestros, Corea is one of the defining fusion artists of all time and Return to Forever is a showcase for his skill and acumen. It's spacey, it's Latin influenced, it's electric.
Richard Hell and The Voidoids Blank Generation
Rolo Tomassi Time Will Die And Love Will Bury It
It seems almost misogynistic to use the word 'beautiful' to describe Time Will Die and Love Will Bury It, but that's just what it is. Rolo Tomassi crafted perhaps the most celestially beautiful metal record of the previous decade back in 2018. From the shimmering highs of Aftermath to the dynamic Rituals, this album holds the listener close on a concise yet expansive listening journey.
Rx Bandits ...And the Battle Begun
This album means so much to me; I don't know if another work of music has caught me at a worse time in my life and yet still managed to help me pick up the pieces with a grin. Rx Bandits captured lightning in a bottle with this record, fusing ska and progressive rock and blazing the trail for bands such as Thank You Scientist to follow. From an influential and emotional standpoint, this album ranks high for me. Pure fun.
Schammasch Contradiction
With Paysage d'Hiver's landmark "Im Wald" out this year, it's important to return to Schammasch to
remember that not all black metal needs to be fuzzed out with a production artist never found in
the studio. Contradiction is hauntingly epic, filled with superb instrumentation, complex
lyricism, and a consistent theme. Every prog band wishes for an album as expansive and glorious as
this one.
Seizures Reverie of the Revolving Diamond
My musical taste really vibes with Seizures' sound on this record as a caveat to this stratospheric scoring. That being said, how could you not be enamored with the blend of hardcore energy, mathcore riffing, and experimental breaks? Reverie of the Revolving Diamond is a cohesive journey and positively grips the listener the whole way through
Seizures The Sanity Universal
Seizures will forever and always be metalcore for self-proclaimed tortured intellectual souls. The mathematical fury, the spacey atmosphere, and the overall cold calculated delivery coalesce into a sonic structure distanced apart from the rest of the scene. Seizures are a special band.
Shai Hulud Reach Beyond the Sun
In fewer than 35 minutes, Shai Hulud soothe our ears with the sound of a group of dudes collectively failing their anger management training in the sweetest way possible.
Shai Hulud That Within Blood Ill-Tempered
SikTh Death of a Dead Day
Skaphe Skáphe³
Are you kidding me? You're telling me you're gonna hear those drums at 2+ minutes in to Track 2 and not instantly give these dudes $7 on Bandcamp? Since it's a soundoff, I'll close with a lasy comparison: halfway between Imperial Triumphant and Wormlust on the mindfucky, atmospheric, death-inspiring black metal wizardry, and the love child of Ulcerate's and Deathspell Omega's hazy vortex of death.
Slayer Reign in Blood
sleepmakeswaves Love of Cartography
Slice the Cake Odyssey to the West
I can't help but praise this album as a sublime work of art. It's in a sense a metallic equivalent of a Coheed album - a sweeping narrative stretched over a massive tracklist. Without getting too in the weeds here, I return to this album again and again for the confidence Slice the Cake display in melding various metal genres and spoken word into a surprisingly cogent package.
Slint Spiderland
Slugdge Esoteric Malacology
State Faults Clairvoyant
Maybe the record's shiny sheen is gone now that it's been over a year, but Clairvoyant still holds up as a near-magnum opus. State Faults cement themselves as as emocore royalty with a record that punches just as hard, gets you in your feels just as much, and sticks in your brain just as stubbornly even after the hype has faded away.
Steely Dan Aja
Suis La Lune Heir
Suis La Lune Quiet, Pull the Strings!
Svalbard When I Die, Will I Get Better?
System of a Down Toxicity
Thank You Scientist Maps of Non-Existent Places
I can't open with anything other than this: Maps of Non-Existent Places is so unbelievably good. Many hardcore TYS fans tout Stranger Heads Prevail as their favorite record, but I will stand by Maps till the day I die. There are so many catchy tunes, so many moments of brass/string brilliance, and so much musical ability on display here. TYS know how to write good music and they don't let up for a second on this record. Ridiculously good.
The Dear Hunter Act IV: Rebirth in Reprise
An end to end compelling listen and masterwork of storytelling. Even if you don't get into this album for its narrative capacity, Casey Crescenzo's voice is one of the strongest in progressive music. The sheer force of his creative powers is on display here in one of the albums of the 2010s.
The Dillinger Escape Plan Calculating Infinity
The Fall of Troy Doppelganger
The Hirsch Effekt Holon: Anamnesis
The Hirsch Effekt Holon: Agnosie
The Human Abstract Digital Veil
Not sure how it's taken me so long to getting around to rating this bad boy. It is my solemn opinion that Digital Veil should stand in the pantheon of prog metal. The record flows wonderfully, juxtaposes heavier passages to clean-filled verses superbly, and rewards the listener on each listen. I'm fond of saying that The Human Abstract are like BTBAM if BTBAM quit trying so hard and simply tried to make a great-sounding album. And this is all coming from a huge BTBAM fan! Good god I love this album.
The Jimi Hendrix Experience Electric Ladyland
The Jimi Hendrix Experience Axis: Bold as Love
The Mars Volta De-Loused in the Comatorium
The Motion Mosaic Avant-Garbage
Hearkens back to older metalcore in the most refreshing way. The diversity of sounds on this album makes it a challenging, rewarding ride e.g. the appropriately placed interludes giving the listener a much-needed breather. that seems to be one of the common denominators across the album. Personal highlight is DMT Daydream, with Cancer and Cure a close second. Hoping these guys get the attention they deserve.
The Ocean Precambrian
This album falls into the category of "So good you can't help but wonder what the people rating this lowly are thinking." Different strokes, I guess, and I want to be accepting of the musical tastes of others, but like. Good god. This is a ridiculous, unique, monstrous achievement.
The Reticent The Oubliette
The Secret Agnus Dei
There's nothing friendly about this album. It launches an M80 outside your house, slams down the front door, and steals you away in broad daylight. This thing doesn't stop for a second in a blistering blend of punk, HxC, BM, grind, etc.
Thelonious Monk Brilliant Corners
This belongs in the upper echelon of fantastic jazz/bebop pieces. The amount of systematic effort Brilliant Corners took to produce blows my mind, but this doesn't always translate into blowing the listener's mind away during an actual spin. The record is still sublime, but the exploratory proto-avant garde elements could have used more attention to make this a truly innovative, emotive record.
Thrice Vheissu
Toluca Soras
Russia's early Envy at their best, Soras is an amalgam of blackened screamo inflected with enough emotion to satisfy the loneliest ancom agitator. Soras is produced to hit the listener squarely where it hurts: emotional, well-composed riffs; atmospheric mixing; harsh but tender vocals. Toluca are a gem to be appreciated.
Trachimbrod A Collection of Hidden Sketches
Verse Aggression
Vi Som Alskade Varandra Sa Mycket Det Onda. Det Goda. Det Vackra. Det Fula.
Might be worth learning Swedish just to bump this up to a 5 tbh. This album is unbelievable - completely unique in a sea of HC, heartrending, moving, raw, powerful. I'm such a good writer aren't I
Vi Som Alskade Varandra Sa Mycket Den sorgligaste musiken i varlden
Who would have thought my love language was tonsilitically-screamed Swedish hxc?
We Lost the Sea Departure Songs
Weyes Blood Titanic Rising
How about a bunch of adjectives to make for a truly stellar soundoff? Titanic Rising is mesmerizing, spellbinding, eerie, haunting, emotive, and powerful. The album is lyrically complex, a showcase in an artist's capacity to connect with the listener and evoke scenes of feeling. I can't listen to Titanic Rising casually due to its relentless capacity to conquer the listener's attention. Works like this contribute to our understanding of music's capacity to generate human connection.
Wormlust The Feral Wisdom
Yashira Fail To Be
Zao Where Blood and Fire Bring Rest
The rare cosmically influential album that's just as listenable on an everyday basis. You don't have to approach WBaFBR with any sort of 'handicap' for its classical status. Zao excel at hitting hard, hitting emotionally, and sticking with the listener. This record leads with intensity and sheer power - just listen to those growls! Best in the business?

4.0 excellent
...and Oceans Cosmic World Mother
Really solid melodic black metal calling back to ...and Oceans' early days. The lumbering synths underpinning much of the tremolos, blasts, and impressive growls serve enough melody to satisfy an age-old fan, but the general dark atmosphere achieved through all of the above plus the solid production is this record's defining characteristic. The album is bifurcated into a more traditional BM first half and a slightly more experimental second half; I probably would have dinged this album down a half point for lack of more experimentation/variation, but the title track is such a banger I have to 4 this.
156/Silence Irrational Pull
Really trying hard not to spew an adjective soup to describe this slice of Mx/HxC. We've got ourselves a groovy slappy heavy affair
156/Silence Undercover Scumbag
7 Angels 7 Plagues Jhazmyne's Lullaby
Acid Bath Paegan Terrorism Tactics
Adebisi Shank This is the Album
Adolescents Adolescents
Adrift Pure
Rarely do I assert the belief that Sput is underrating an album (mostly due to my cataclysmic lack
of confidence in my own musical taste), but Pure is a slightly grimy, sorta sludgy, altogether
smoky affair. Its undulating rhythms cascade from song to song in a hazy mix - think Slift with an
admixture of Kayo Dot.
Adrift Black Heart Bleeds Black
Agalloch The Mantle
Agrimonia Rites of Separation
Akercocke Antichrist
Alcest Kodama
Alexisonfire Alexisonfire
All That Remains The Fall of Ideals
Altar of Plagues Teethed Glory and Injury
An Endless Sporadic Ameliorate
Anaal Nathrakh Endarkenment
Anciients Heart of Oak
Archspire Relentless Mutation
Arktida Сквозь Столетия
Grand choruses, sweeping emotional verses, cheesy orchestral accompaniment; Skvoz' stoletiya is certainly a generic power metal album, but it's a generic power metal album delivered in Russian. 9 years later and Arktida still tug at my heartstrings
As Cities Burn Hell Or High Water
Aseitas False Peace
I don't believe I'd say False Peace is Aseitas's premonition of the future of death metal - but it's a damn fine amalgam of much of extreme metal's most influential acts over the past decade, obligatory TDEP/Meshuggah/Car Bomb name drops as pertinent as ever.
ASIDEFROMADAY Divine Proportion
Astronoid Air
Aura Noir Deep Tracts of Hell
Ætheria Conscientia Corrupted Pillars of Vanity
Baroness Red Album
Bathe Alone Last Looks
Batushka Litourgiya
Surely Polish Orthodox churches rank second only to Southern Baptist churches in terms of pure musical energy and fun. Litourgiya's a textbook example of Eastern European hymns, right?
Be Well The Weight And The Cost
Bear vs. Shark Terrorhawk
Bear vs. Shark Right Now You're in the Best of Hands
Beecher Breaking the Fourth Wall
Beecher This Elegy, His Autopsy
Between the Buried and Me Automata II
I really, really, really wanted to 3.5 this. From a conceptual standpoint the album is fragmentary without Automata I, and the band are clearly reacting against Coma Ecliptic, to the point where the focus seems off-center (let's go heavy where we would go soft before!). This all being said, BTBAM close with two excellent songs; with Voice of Trespass, they've crafted their best, in my opinion. Despite the conceptual lapses and sense that BTBAM might be tiring creatively, they manage to pull out all the stops in the second half and redeem a mediocre (by BTBAM standards) effort with the Automata duo.
Between the Buried and Me The Parallax II: Future Sequence
BTBAM craft an album that meshes instrumental prowess, the ultimate in progressive song structure, and a pervasive undercurrent of fun. This album is coherent and rife with compositional excellence, much more so than some of their previous releases. Parallax II shows that BTBAM excel the best when they cast off any notions of wankery and decide to craft a cogent record.
Between the Buried and Me The Silent Circus
Birds in Row You, Me, and the Violence
Black Breath Heavy Breathing
Black Crown Initiate Violent Portraits of Doomed Escape
Black Sheep Wall Songs for the Enamel Queen
Boards of Canada Tomorrow's Harvest
Bokassa Divide and Conquer
Bokassa Crimson Riders
Bolt Thrower Those Once Loyal
This sounds almost exactly like everything Bolt Thrower has ever released, but it's their finest work. Musicians show off their chops, the production suits the sound exactly, and the record is a hallmark of the thrashy death metal from which it emerges. What a way to end a band!
Breach Venom
Breach It's Me God
Brutus (BE) Burst
Buckethead Colma
Burden of Life The Makeshift Conqueror
Burnt By the Sun Soundtrack to the Personal Revolution
C.B. Murdoc Here Be Dragons
C.B. Murdoc deserve praise for devising a mystique that does not gel with their sound whatsoever. Examine each segment of this work - the album name, the album cover, even the group's moniker itself - and each component belies the savage, fun, fruitful TDM contained in the neat pink&perrywinkle package. Put this on when you're in a silly little tech death mood.
Calligram The Eye Is the First Circle
Candiria 300 Percent Density
Cara Neir Portals To A Better, Dead World
Cara Neir Phase Out
Caspian Dust and Disquiet
I tout my resistance to post-rock/post-metal quite often as a badge of honor. I often complacently think that I see through the ambient BS where others 'mistakenly' see beauty and complexity. On certain occasions, when I let down my smug guard, I realize what I'm missing out on.
CB Murdoc Here be Dragons
Chain Gang Grave When Your Friends Become Cops
Chaos Divine Legacies
Chapel of Disease ...And As We Have Seen The Storm
This is excellent for all the most commonly cited reasons. It's essentially a prog metal record with strong death flavoring in just about as cohesive a package as possible. Not sure if DM purists will get as electrified by this as the more nerdy among us, but Chapel of Disease crafted a purely fun record here.
Charles Mingus Pithecanthropus Erectus
Chet Baker Chet
CHON Grow
Chon's best work in my opinion. I have a long history with this band, having seen them at live shows even before Grow came out (!). It's rare for me to say I've grown up with a band, and even rarer to say that I can't appreciate the full extent of their oeuvre. However, Chon were at their best here - crisp and shiny melodies, not shying away from an ear candy sound, not trying to break new ground but moving comfortably within their wheelhouse. rI often juxtapose Chon with Polyphia. Polyphia are at their best when they're pushing the envelope to the furthest it'll go, and are meant to be innovators. Chon, in contrast, play phenomenally within their own wheelhouse, but on later releases where they attempt to refine their sound forward things fall a bit more flat.
CHON Newborn Sun
Colorful, catchy, groovy, and produced when the members were just out of kindergarten, practically, Newborn Sun is a wonderful achievement. The record lays the groundwork for Chon's signature sound; though at this point it's way back in their discography, Chon still bust out Bubble Dream at live shows. Above all, the record is a whirlwind, cohesive listen that still transports me 10000 listens later.
Coalesce Functioning on Impatience
IMO, Coalesce never quite reach the sky-high standards of contemporaries Botch or TDEP. That being said, FoI is a surly release of sandpapery harshes, melodic grooves, and a substantial degree of mathy wankery. Hard to believe this disgruntled child is as old as it is.
Coheed and Cambria From Fear Through the Eyes of Madness
Coheed and Cambria In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3
Comadre Comadre
Converge You Fail Me
Counterparts Nothing Left to Love
Raw, unfiltered emotion. Spun this umpteen times after my breakup and idk if it made me feel much different but I was able to rock out regardless.
Crystal Lake The Voyages
Cytotoxin Nuklearth
Likely the best TDM release of the year. Breaks positively zero new ground, but executes the genre's tropes to a high standard. The cyclonic guitars, pummeling BBs, and ferocious vocals combine for one geiger-overloading meal of a record.
Daitro Laisser Vivre Les Squelettes
Dance Gavin Dance Happiness
Dance Gavin Dance Downtown Battle Mountain
Dance Gavin Dance Acceptance Speech 2.0
Deafheaven Sunbather
December The Lament Configuration
Defeated Sanity The Sanguinary Impetus
Deftones Ohms
Deicide Legion
Devil's Den Barbed New Religion
Disavowed Revocation of the Fallen
This is a remarkably strong comeback for one of the premier BDM vanguard. The record is perfectly timed at just over half an hour, which is enough room for Disavowed to knock about with their aggressive riffage, precise and targeted basslines, superior and audible harsh vocals, and, last but not least, unbelievably technical drumming. If nothing else, Revocation of the Fallen is Disavowed showing off: these oldsters prove that they can still play with the best of them, and they aren't just recycling or rehashing old material, either. Revocation of the Fallen is a stark reminder of BDM's glory days but it comes packaged with a modern sheen.
Dream Theater Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes from a Memory
Drip-Fed Kill the Buzz
Drudkh Blood In Our Wells
This is a really fantastic album, but the right-wing worship in the last track holds the album back. It's not just a political statement I disagree with - this band's heavily thematic work is steeped in the ethos of a heavily jingoistic Ukrainian undercurrent running through that boggiest of countries. The instrumentals are excellent, the atmosphere haunting, and the vocals powerful, but the message is downright despicable.
Duke Ellington and John Coltrane Duke Ellington and John Coltrane
Two jazz masters combine for a fearsome display of musical skill. This album, among many other classic jazz pieces of the day, stands out for being enjoyable even in the background; you don't have to annotate the theory sheets to get a lot out of this one. That being said, we don't exactly lose out on hearing Coltrane's and Ellington's musical prowess - they might dial it back a bit with each other, but you know who you're listening to.
Dukla Honza
Earth Moves The Truth In Our Bodies
Echo Tail A Brief Escape From Life
Echodrone Resurgence
Eden Maine To You The First Star
In terms of raw trailblazing power, TYTFS is a complete classic. There would be no envy, no Vi som [swedish] without Eden Maine. The album is tiny bit rough around the edges, but in terms of sheer creativity and bravery it's monumental.
Enter Shikari Nothing Is True and Everything Is Possible
I'm gonna stray away from too long of a soundoff here because I'm wading into uncharted waters. But Enter Shikari's latest release is both a delightful amalgam of ear-pleasing electronics and a sharp social commentary. It's almost too preachy and perhaps a bit artificial sounding, but it's accessible yet challenging.
Envy Abyssal
Abyssal is a landmark EP for envy. Though they truly began to adopt post-rock themes and sounds in Insomniac Doze, Abyssal represents envy owning and conquering what would become a hallmark of their sonic palate. The atmospheric quality so characteristic of envy's work is most apparent in the 10 minute long opening track, where harsh vocals reminiscent of the band's earlier days mesh with shimmery, distorted guitars. These are followed by gentle cleans delivered in the almost-spoken word style that came to define Tetsuya Fukagawa's singing when he wasn't pummeling the listener. A keystone of everyone's favorite screamo band's discography.
Ephel Duath The Painter's Palette
Epica Design Your Universe
Ethereal Shroud Lanterns
Faceless Burial Speciation
Falls of Rauros Patterns in Mythology
4ing this despite the fact that it seems like it was generated from a "late 2010s metal trends trope generator" --> folky beautiful riffs atmospheric BM post-Deafheaven
Firelink Firelink
Floating Points, Pharoah Sanders & The LSO Promises
Flourishing The Sum of All Fossils
Despite having listened to this the whole way through at least half a dozen times, I always expect TSoAF to be a crush-fest befitting of a group sput tags as dm/industrial. Then as T1 rumbles into T2 and Flourishing's unique take on TDM betrays its prog, doom, and punk influences, I marvel at the unassuming depth of sound on this record. It's this blend of genres that makes TSoAF such a rewarding listen, and one that makes the Ulcerate comparisons seem a tad forced. Flourishing have their own sound and they execute it cleverly here. Or, if you prefer, just listen to Fossil Records instead of reading my pointless soundoff.
Flying Lotus You're Dead!
A superb display of Flylo's signature genre mesh, You're Dead! mesmerizes the listener with a bevy of pulsing beats, well-executed features (KL and Snoop), and masterful production. Most of the record isn't exactly the most memorable, but during the listen one is so captivated that it doesn't really matter.
FM-84 Atlas
Frank Zappa Apostrophe
Gaza No Absolutes in Human Suffering
Folks who haven't explored Sput's thriving soundoff community/ecosystem should start with Gaza's NAinHS (and check out this album while you're at it, rips)
Gaza I Don't Care Where I Go When I Die
Genghis Tron Dream Weapon
George Otsuka Quintet Loving You George
Gloria (FRA) Sabbat Matters
Godspeed You! Black Emperor G_d's Pee AT STATE'S END!
GoGo Penguin v2.0
A lovely exponent of modern jazz a la Mammal Hands: complex rhythms and interweaving melodies with a splash of easy-to-listen-to paint on the surface. This record definitely falls into the oft-targeted "works well in the background or as a close listen" category.
Gojira L'Enfant Sauvage
L'enfant brutal. L'enfant cologique. L'enfant magistral. L'enfant tumescent.
Gojira Magma
Gulch Impenetrable Cerebral Fortress
Impenetrable Cerebral Fortress evokes exactly what it should: a disgusting, piss-laden, stray tooth-strewn pit in a dingy San Jose club. That's all Gulch needed to to succeed, and they achieve success in spades with this ferocious quarter of an hour release.
Gulch Burning Desire to Draw Last Breath
Gulfer Gulfer
Gutbucket Sludge Test
Hail Spirit Noir Eden In Reverse
Haken Virus
There's no joking around here: Haken have not disappointed with their latest release. This record is a tightly controlled, thematically coherent, aurally cohesive work that should cement Haken's place as one of the titans of modern progressive metal. To shave back the hyperbole a little bit, I do find that, despite its general cogent nature, Virus succeeds in part because of its standout tracks. While the LP flows fairly seamlessly and no track comes by surprise, I find myself impressed just as much by sparse moments of calculated energy as I do by the album's natural flow. What this means is Virus lacks some of the emotional narrative punch present on The Mountain, and that's what holds it back from true greatness in the end.
Hakushi Hasegawa Air Ni Ni
Harkonen Shake Harder Boy
Heartscarved ...And Tomorrow We Escape
This lowkey gem is early 2000s metalcore defined. Heartscarves are what it's all about: melodic riffage, acute harsh vocals, and subtle influence from MDM. Trivium wish they put out a record this good.
Heaven In Her Arms White Halo
Hellripper The Affair of the Poisons
Herbie Hancock Empyrean Isles
Himsa Summon In Thunder
His Hero Is Gone The Plot Sickens: Enslavement Redefined
I the Mighty Connector
An entertaining jam with tons of energy and a characteristic degree of catchy. I the Mighty don't exactly break new ground here, but the seamless interweaving of pop sensibilities with post hardcore tone and instrumentation works nearly flawlessly. Exemplifying this are album highlights Psychomachia and The Frame I. That's not to say that the more pop-heavy songs don't work - in fact, I the Mighty impress with their ability to switch between genres while still sounding themselves. The main flaw in this record is its slight lack of focus, particularly lyrically, but it's still a wonderful ride.
ichika Forn
Ichika's finest solo release, in my opinion. His staggering ability runs loose here, and though the songwriting is not incredibly engaging, it's still impressive to see what he can do on the fretboard.
Igorrr Spirituality and Distortion
Ihsahn Arktis.
Ihsahn crafted a superbly experimental, beautiful, and sometimes unsettling record with Arktis. back in 2016. One of the most continuously surprising (and I mean this positively!) aspects about this record is its accessibility given Tveitan's clear intention of producing a disconcertingly conceptual album. This record is consistent in its inventiveness (for black/prog) and admirable for how many new ideas there are from song to song while still retaining a fundamental similarity. Ihsahn leaves his indelible creative mark on each song, and no one else could make an album like this work.
In the Silence A Fair Dream Gone Mad
Ingrina Etter Lys
Ingurgitating Oblivion Vision Wallows In Symphonies Of Light
Inquisition Ominous Doctrines of the Perpetual Mystical...
Intercepting Pattern The Encounter
Invalids Strengths
Invent Animate Greyview
On paper, this album is a 5 to me. Sput bestows upon it my two most-listened to genres (metalcore/prog metal), it features excellent instrumentation, a welcome balance of harshes and clean vox, and a lil bit of diversity in sound structure. I fully went into February 2020 expecting to be blown away by Greyview. And it's a great album! But idk, it doesn't blow my mind. Does any of this really make sense? Will anyone ever read this paragraph? It's a 4, just accept it.
Invent Animate Stillworld
J Dilla Donuts
Jane Weaver Flock
Jason Moran The Sound Will Tell You
Jizue Bookshelf
John Sharkey III Shoot Out the Cameras
Joliette Atáxico
Joy Division Unknown Pleasures
Julien Baker Little Oblivions
Kaleikr Heart of Lead
Kardashev The Baring of Shadows
Why, oh why, couldn't this have been longer. This hits on all the right notes for me: it's a tearjerker, it's instrumentally well executed, it's got variety, it's haunting, it's well produced. If their next full-length is on this caliber, it'll easily be AOTY material for whatever year it is
Kauan Ice Fleet
Kayo Dot Coffins on Io
Khors Where the Word Acquires Eternity
This is some darn good black metal. Screw your atmosphere - Khors hit us with some BM riffs, a little bit of melancholy, and a lot of Ukrainian traditionalism. Best of all, no right-wing jiingoism that I can detect.
Kilgore Trout Immemorial
Knut Challenger
Krallice Mass Cathexis
Kvaen The Funeral Pyre
Landlady Landlady
Lantlos .neon
Liturgy H.A.Q.Q.
In terms of experimentation, creativity, and fusion, H.A.Q.Q. is an absolute masterpiece. In terms of being enjoyable and fun to listen to, it's often wonderful but occasionally grating. On balance, it's a wonderful piece of art, nerdiness be damned.
Locktender Friedrich
Lord Snow Solitude
I play this record when I am feeling like any of the following, in combination or solo: lesbian, vegan, feminist, hard, core.
Mamaleek Out of Time
Mammal Hands Becoming
Becoming is a superb example of Mammal Hands' trademark avant-garde yet smooth jazz. Instrumentation is tight yet flowing, compositions are harmonious and precise, and production creates a well-rounded and full-bodied sound. At a greater length, Mammal Hands could craft an even more remarkable album, but they do earn their 4 well.
Mammal Hands Shadow Work
Mammal Hands' strongest effort, in my opinion. Their sound is more captivating, more ethereal, and smoother than before. The record grips an active listener and soothes a passive one; i.e., I spin it when I'm working, before I sleep, or just as much on a long drive when little else occupies my mind.
Mammal Hands Captured Spirits
Manticora To Live To Kill To Live
Mare Cognitum Solar Paroxysm
Mastodon Leviathan
Me and Him Call It Us Loss
Meer Playing House
Megadeth Rust in Peace
Megadeth Peace Sells... But Who's Buying?
Meshuggah Koloss
The masters of consistency at it again. If we attempt to force the spotlight on one aspect of each Meshuggah album differentiating itself from the others, we'd have to focus on production for this one. Koloss is Meshuggah's most accessible album to newcomers IMO - the chugs are there, the polyrhythms are there, and the tight sonic package is presented as nicely as ever. Meshuggah deviate so little from their standard of quality that the occasional rip-snorting banger is even more of a pleasure, which is why Demiurge is still one of my favorite songs from 2012.
Metallica Metallica
Metallica ...And Justice for All
Metallica Kill 'Em All
Mgla Exercises in Futility
I can't describe this album in a more apt way than this other 4.0 user: "Prominent qualities include greatly-gruff frog-in-a-swamp vox". Greatly-gruff, it is!
Miles Davis Get Up with It
Miles Davis Miles Smiles
Monobody Raytracing
Rare that a band can blend such diverse sonic buzzwords as "atmospheric", "virtuosic", "cosmic", "mathy", and all the rest as well as Monobody does in this record. This album is a fabulous listen on the whole, with solid production and super-capable instrumentation. Raytracing is best enjoyed at full attention -- there are so many ideas here, and most are executed extremely well, but a listener must pay full attention to reap the bountiful rewards at stake.
Monobody Comma
Moon Tooth Crux
Native Construct Quiet World
Ne Obliviscaris Urn
Neck of the Woods The Annex of Ire
Nothing groundbreaking here, but Neck of the Woods craft a hard-hitting record with a just-right runtime that hits all the notes. They pack energy, riffs, and some melodies into a tight little package, and the hints of atmosphere lend enough of a prog metal tinge to the record to keep The Annex of Ire from being too crushingly generic.
Nile Those Whom the Gods Detest
Nocturnus The Key
Nord (FRA) And Now There's Only A River Left Behind
Norma Jean All Hail
Northlane Discoveries
Quintessential prog metalcore, quintessential djent, quintessential Australian 'core. Northlane simultaneously defined three highly visible, moderately controversial musical generations in one fell swoop.
Nuvolascura As We Suffer From Memory and Imagination
The Envy comparisons are inevitable yet somewhat needless. Nuvolascura offer a package that is both more bruising and more bruised than their Japanese counterparts. The record is paced perfectly for its desired emotional effect, pelting the listener with a hectic mishmash of noise, math, and skramz.
Obscura Cosmogenesis
Odraza Rzeczom
Poland as a country is only useful for BM tbh. Fight me
Oliver Nelson The Blues and the Abstract Truth
Oranssi Pazuzu Mestarin Kynsi
Paradise Lost Obsidian
I'm ashamed to say that, of all metal genres, both that are most commonly used to categorize Paradise Lost tend to escape my interest. I may lose some cred here, but doom and gothic metal bore me for their lack of pulse (strong IMO here). Obsidian, however, brings a whole lot more to the table than atmosphere or sludgy chug. It stays true to its doom/goth progenitors' tropes, but for some reason the moody despair in this record actually speaks to me. That's def worth a 4.
Pg. 99 Document #12
Pilori (FRA) À Nos Morts
Plini Handmade Cities
This record is nothing but gorgeous. Seven tightly composed songs that leave enough room for Plini (his real given name!) to construct a lush world of exceptional technique, dazzling melodies, epic bridges, and impeccable song structure. It's difficult to discern which of these pieces plays the largest part in making Handmade Cities a knockout of a record, as I could expound on any for far too long. Give this a listen and transport yourself.
Plini Other Things
Quite the EP from Plini here; though we only have a baker's dozen of minutes to enjoy the man's fusion of jazz with progressive metal tropes, his technique and songwriting flair are on full display. It's a quick few cuts, but the ideas are fleshed out and represent Plini's style quite well.
Plini Impulse Voices
Polyphia The Most Hated
Again displaying my Polyphia fanboyism, but I actually rank this as my second favorite record from the fellas. It's a well-crafted, consistent EP that bridges their stylistic evolution from the earlier prog days to their more fusion-centric releases of late. Their isn't a lull on this EP in my opinion, there are plenty of catchy hooks and melodies, and though Tim tends to dominate I still find redeeming qualities in Scott's work.
Portal Swarth
Portico Quartet Isla
Portrayal of Guilt We Are Always Alone
Postvorta Porrima
Primus Sailing the Seas of Cheese
Protest the Hero Palimpsest
My second favorite work of art named "Palimpsest" after my sput username's namesake's famous memoir. This album is a bit more of a comeback than a defining work and will undoubtedly be less controversial if more fun to experience.
Protest the Hero Volition
Protest the Hero Kezia
Protosequence A Blunt Description of Something Obscene
Psychonaut Unfold the God Man
Going through all my 2020 listens and realizing I never gave UtGM its full due. In the interest of keeping things short I imagine Psychonaut to be what Pink Floyd would be if they existed today. If that betrays my exact feelings about Pink Floyd, so be it. I like this album.
Pupil Slicer Mirrors
Purplefox Town Purplefox Town
R U N For You Will Never Find Peace Within Your Quiet
Rabbit Rabbit Radio Rabbit Rabbit Radio, Vol. 1
Raiden (ENG) The Killing Fist
Randolph's Leap Spirit Level
Red Harvest Cold Dark Matter
Regional Justice Center Crime and Punishment
Rivers of Nihil Where Owls Know My Name
I came into this album with a healthy degree of skepticism due to the hype a majority of reviewers generated and the denigration a minority seemed to espouse. About six months later, I'd say Rivers of Nihil certainly deserve the lion's share of praise they've received for this effort.rThis album's theme is particularly prescient given the coronavirus outbreak, so I wanted to revisit it and give a proper rating. Though it's my umpteenth listen, I still find the album diverse enough to keep the listener entertained for the full hour but cogent enough to sustain a consistent sound. I admire Rivers of Nihil's ability to blend more prog elements into TDM; while they certainly don't break entirely new ground IMO, they offer something relatively fresh. rThe instrumentation is really well done and the harsh and clean vocals play nicely with one another. The sax feels quite natural and bounces off the lead guitar naturally. Drums could be a bit better mixed as could the guitar in places, but I won't quibble too much.rI'd give this album a higher rating if there weren't a noticeable distinction in quality between the first and second halves of the record. That's not to say the second half is poor, but the first is chock full of hits. Well, you can't really ask for too much, can you?
Riverside Second Life Syndrome
Rudresh Mahanthappa Hero Trio
A finely performed tribute to Rudresh's self-proclaimed masters. Hero Trio is a lovely piece of throwback jazz and a fitting interpretation of many titanic voices from Ornette Coleman to Coltrane, with some less jazzy influences thrown in as well such as Stevie Wonder and Johnny Cash. A purely enjoyable, easily listenable, overall super fun record from beginning to end
Rx Bandits Mandala
Ryley Walker Course In Fable
Sallow Moth The Larval Hope
Sangre de Muerdago Xuntas
Scale the Summit The Collective
Sed Non Satiata Sed Non Satiata
Haunting and beautiful, powered by strong vocals and solidly standard BM instrumentation. No tracks stand head and shoulders above the others, but this is fairly engaging, which says a lot.
Selbst Relatos de Angustia
Sights and Sounds Monolith
Since By Man We Sing The Body Electric
Slayer Seasons in the Abyss
Slift Ummon
Y'all know that recent list a user made about seducing women with progressive rock? This is the record you play to seduce your homies
Snarky Puppy Sylva
Space Art Trip in the Center Head
Spectral Wound A Diabolic Thirst
Spirit Possession Spirit Possession
Starkweather Croatoan
String Noise, Greg Saunier, and International Contemporary E Eric Lyon: Giga Concerto
Suffering Hour The Cyclic Reckoning
Sun of the Sleepless To The Elements
Sunken Livslede
Svalbard One Day All This Will End
Svalbard It's Hard to Have Hope
Sylosis Conclusion of an Age
One of the better thrash/MDM albums to come out of the 2000s, Conclusion of an Age has been with me for a long time. It's still their best release for its combination of crisp production, thematic cogency, instrumental skill, and pure ferocity. There are absolute bangers strewn throughout the tracklist ("After Lifeless Years" and "Withered" are my picks). What holds this album back from true greatness? If you catch the odd song on shuffle, you're blown away. If you listen to CoaA the whole way through, you'll get weary. It's as simple as that, but it's still fantastic.
Tera Melos X'ed Out
TesseracT Altered State
Thaetas Shrines to Absurdity
Thank You Scientist Terraformer
TYS shoulder high expectations for good reason, and they mostly delivered with Terraformer. The almost inconceivably long runtime is surprisingly not much of a hindrance here, as the band stay quite engaged with their craft the whole time. TYS maintain their sound well and don't experiment much, which is perhaps why this album doesn't reach the highs it could have. That being said, Terraformer is a wonderful record with some truly superb tracks that belong in the top tier of TYS's discog.
Thank You Scientist Stranger Heads Prevail
The Algorithm Brute Force
Brute Force is pure fun. It's chaotic yet calculated, ferocious yet tentative, and in your face yet by your side. There's something comforting to me about the Algorithm's blend of electronic music and prog metal, perhaps because Brute Force is so contemporary as to only work in the mid-2010s. To throw another juxtaposition into the mix, this whole record both seems effortless and tortuously complicated. Won't stop banging this one till the cows come home
The Armed Only Love
Dissonant and distorted, a vision of punk and hardcore for the future. I admire the Armed for their ability to push the scene forward; the album pushes the envelope and is still a fantastic listen.
The Armed Untitled
The Armed Ultrapop
The Best of the Worst Better Medicine
The Callous Daoboys Die On Mars
To synthesize everyone else's comments: TDEP's frenetic energy meets The Chariot's sonic palate meets DGD's humor. It's a refreshing take on a genre that ostensibly peaked years ago, and an entry to the scene worthy of notice.
The Chariot One Wing
Unbelievable, undeniable riffage. I don't believe One Wing deserves the most dazzling praise. Its ideas, while executed quite well and performed cohesively, aren't entirely groundbreaking. It's certainly a wild, joyful, ecstatic ride, but what the Chariot's final album possessed in creating a few supreme tracks it lacked in consummate consistency.
The Contortionist Language
The Contortionist Exoplanet
The Dillinger Escape Plan One of Us Is the Killer
The Dillinger Escape Plan Dissociation
The Dillinger Escape Plan Miss Machine
The Hirsch Effekt Eskapist
The Human Abstract Nocturne
The Letters Organize Dead Rhythm Machine
The Most Of What We Have
The Number Twelve Looks Like You Mongrel
The Ocean Phanerozoic II: Mesozoic | Cenozoic
The Ocean Pelagial
The Offering Home
Stellar LP from The Offering here, with technical precision, crushing riffs, and a pleasing synthesis of various strands of metal. I hear Judas Priest, I hear Opeth, I hear Rivers of Nihil - the whole package blends well, and I look forward to future offerings from The Offering.
The Physics House Band Horizons / Rapture
The Reds, Pinks and Purples Uncommon Weather
The Ruins Of Beverast The Thule Grimoires
The Secret Solve Et Coagula
The blackened tinge to Solve et Coagula takes the record a step further from The Secret's older discography, adding an element of controlled ferocity that's also absent from contemporaries who tend to be a bit less focused and more unhinged. The ambient nature of previous works in The Secret's catalog is dampened here for all the better as the guitar distortion finds better channels in complementing the vocals. Solve et Coagula is not The Secret's finest work, but it represents a major turning point in their career wherein they define their blackened hardcore sound.
The Slow Readers Club The Joy of the Return
thoughtcrimes Tap Night
Only 4ing this for length as Tap Night is the best EP I've heard in a long while. Compact, ferocious energy meets a variegated guitar sound, rumbling bass and kitwork, and solid production. This clocks in at less than a quarter of an hour but whets my hardcore tastebuds so hard.
Tired Lion Breakfast for Pathetics
Toluca Act I
Don't you love when you stumble across an EP that gets you absolutely psyched about a band, and then you realize it's their first release and there's much more of their catalog to enjoy? Toluca's Act I
Toluca Memoria
Toluca's first full length release has them firing on their selected cylinders. This is an emotionally charged, atmospheric, melodic, and even well produced hodgepodge with the Russian blackened screamo group at their best. Fans of envy looking for something with a harsher edge should check this out.
Totem Skin Still Waters Run Deep
Blackened hardcore is my jam at the moment, and Totem Skin are one of the most underappreciated artists in the genre. This album is a full-on emotive assault, with the blackened vocals and atmosphere underscoring the raw power of the hxcore-influenced instrumentals. The Silent Hill sample don't hurt either
Totem Skin Weltschmerz
Touche Amore Stage Four
I really hate that I miss harsher vox on this album. Stage Four is an undeniably moving experience - as it should be, given the fact that it's a dedication to lead singer Bolm's mother in the throes of cancer. Each song positively drips with emotion, and for the studious follower of my soundoffs one could gather that I tend to find emotion in my favorite musical pieces. I do feel, though, that Jeremy Bolm held back a little here, and that prevents me from ascribing legendary status to Stage Four. All in all, though, it's a fantastic listen and work of art.
Touche Amore Lament
Tribulation Where the Gloom Becomes Sound
Tricot 10
Trophy Scars Holy Vacants
Trophy Scars' steadfast adherence to an almost pretentiously off-kilter concept and constitutional unwillingness to deviate thematically take this album down a notch from killer to just shy of wonderful. Everything here is emotive - the multitude of vocalists, the lyrics themselves, and, of course, the blues-washed guitar licks - and I, for one, find it completely genuine. The record is almost, almost too repetitive in terms of structure and sound, but a strong second half bolstered by the stirringly beautiful "Qeres" at spot two carry this record to high places. I recall Fred Armisen's claim that blues is interesting for less than twenty seconds - Trophy Scars' injection of post-hardcore energy and fire into a classical blues framework disproves that claim, and I hope (and believe) their next release can surpass even this one.
Tubelord Our First American Friends
Tuscoma Arkhitecturenominus
A full, rambunctious sound populated by galloping riffage, harsh growls that aren't buried in reverb, and solid rhythm. Tuscoma is a fascinating project and the artists deserve all the attention they can get.
Two People First Body
A moving piece of work, to say the least, First Body is an expression of loss, togetherness, and remembrance that is convincing above all else. Two People tell their story so well and convey their forms into the room with you when you spin this; artistic presence is so important.
Ulcerate Shrines of Paralysis
I've always had a bone to pick with atmospheric/"wall of sound" records, so I've been apprehensive to test out Ulcerate. Color me surprised, as amidst an admittedly omnipresent noisy production Ulcerate manage to deliver blasting drums, technically proficient riffs, and guttural growls that distinguish themselves from one another while cohering into a fist of tech death. I'll be coming back for more, and I look forward to Ulcerate's next release soon.
Ulcerate Stare Into Death and Be Still
Rare does doling out a 4 to a record feel criminally low, but after a few listens beginning to end this is where I've landed. Ulcerate's new album is still the technically proficient, just-the-right-amount-of-dissonant blend of death, post, and prog metal we expect from them. Jamie Saint Merat is unequivocally one of my top five drummers of all time, and he does not let up for a second here. Instrumentals complement one another well and the growls are top notch. I suppose, despite all the pieces coming together, I don't find the same emotional purchase here that I seek from a truly fantastic release. Doesn't mean I won't be blasting "Visceral Ends" and bothering the hell out of my neighbors for the coming weeks/months of quarantine.
Ulthar Providence
Can't keep my ears off them riffs. "Cudgel" is one of my SOTY so far, rips unbelievably hard
Ulver Nattens Madrigal
VOLA Applause of a Distant Crowd
Positively catchy, positively poppy. Vola really shocked me here, as I find the strongest tracks on this record diverge the furthest from their original sound. I hope Vola refine their sound further, perhaps by combining the heaviness found on tracks like "Smartfriend" with the pop sensibilities from "Ruby Pool." High limits here, though.
We Lost the Sea The Quietest Place on Earth
80% of the much-lauded emotion contained in this album is meaningful, the other 20% being a mixture of ennui/'pick up the pace, mates'. But that 80% is oh, so sweet.
White Ward Love Exchange Failure
For those all-too-common moods in which you absolutely crave smooth saxophone and confidently executed black metal within 5 minutes of each other, White Ward cannot be beat. The age-old conundrum solved, at long last!
White Ward Futility Report
Whitechapel The Valley
This is so far beyond Whitechapel's other work that I'm suspicious. Excellent slice of late 2010s deathcore, and I'm happy to admit that the clean vocals add much needed nuance. They amplify the emotive aspects of the record and elevate Whitechapel's sound from pure chugging crush to something a bit more refined.
Wills Dissolve The Heavens Are Not On Fire...
Yon order of violence
Zao The Well-Intentioned Virus
Zao The Crimson Corridor
Zapruder Fall In Line
Zevious Lowlands

3.5 great
...and Oceans A.M.G.O.D.
36 Crazyfists A Snow Capped Romance
Aara Triade I: Eos
Abnormality Contaminating the Hive Mind
I found the lead vocalist's social media and she seems like a great person.
AC/DC Highway To Hell
AC/DC Let There Be Rock
Adebisi Shank This is the Second Album
Aduanten Sullen Cadence
Adult Books Grecian Urn
Aesmah Walking Off The Horizon
Aesmah craft a fine slice of MDM with WoTH here. Almost halfway through 2020 and this is one of my more reliable listens from the year. The melodies are surely present, but the riffs crunch and the harshes are pretty finely well done for the most part. It's not the most technically complex or innovative record, but WoTH establishes Aesmah as a promising force in MDM moving forward.
Afsky Ofte Jeg Drømmer Mig Død
Afterbirth Four Dimensional Flesh
Air Talkie Walkie
Alarum Circle's End
Alarum Natural Causes
All That Remains This Darkened Heart
Allegaeon Proponent For Sentience
On an individual basis, the vast majority of tracks on this record are quite good. Allegaeon execute their brand of TDM/MDM to the T on almost every song, with solid performances from every member. Greggoroth doesn't hit a note out of place, Brandon Park's breakneck pace never stumbles, and McShane's rasps and growls do a pretty solid job of living up to Ezra Haynes. rThe album is musically compact and sound, and that's perhaps its downfall. For as much as Allegaeon does their best to incorporate some diverse sonic elements here, such as the flamenco motif that pops up on a few songs or the orchestral openings, the record tends to overstay its welcome. I would have preferred a bit of the fat trimmed away here, because it's certainly easy to get lost amidst the almost-formulaic song structures. I won't expand further here, but this is a solid album that just stays for a little too long.
Allegaeon Elements of the Infinite
Alphabet Holds Hostage held hostage
Alphabet Holds Hostage truth in habitual
Altarage Succumb
An Endless Sporadic Magic Machine
Angel Vivaldi Away With Words - Part I
Angel Vivaldi would have been the world's most famous guitarist had he existed back in the 80's. He's a consummate shredder and composer of pure ear candy, with an ego microscopic when compared to most old school fretlords. Keeping that in mind, it's one thing to shred well and another thing to shred well and make great music, and yet another thing to shred well, make great music, and impart emotion. I'd say Angel lies firmly in the second camp. He focuses a bit too much on showing off his admittedly massive prowess, and while it's an occasional relief to listen to something that's purely designed to wow you, I'd like to see more.
Animals As Leaders The Madness of Many
In AAL's catalogue, TMoM sits firmly in third place. Whereas preceding effort Joy of Motion picked up the slack where the titular debut left off, TMoM is more akin to sophomore release Weightless, though in a more mature form. While the rhythm sections are much stronger on this fourth album than on Weightless, the record is still, at times, seemingly a hodgepodge of Tosin's leftover ideas. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, as Tosin is deservedly recognized as one of the top guitarists of his generation, but the lack of freshness here really stings. To be fair, though, there are plenty of brilliant pickings, lovely drum fills, and complex basslines to tide over prog fans until AAL's hopeful fifth release.
Arch Echo Arch Echo
Arch Echo Story I
Architects Holy Hell
Architects Hollow Crown
Arise In Stability The Future That Amnesiac Draws
As I Lay Dying Shadows Are Security
As I Lay Dying An Ocean Between Us
As I Lay Dying The Powerless Rise
Astronoid Astronoid
Astronoid churn out consistently faithful blackgaze on this record. There isn't quite the number of standout moments that make any sort of 'gaze album stand out from the pack to me, but the general sense from this album is one simultaneously of peace and coursing energy. Astronoid could do with a bit more experimentation or variation otherwise in their next release, but this will do for now.
Aviations A Declaration of Sound
Avon Terror Corps Wish You Were Avon
オオハシ (Ohashi) 波のはじまり (Nami no Hajimari)
Ba'al Ellipsism
Baroness Blue Record
Baroness Purple
Ben Varian One Hundred Breakfasts with the Book
Beneath the Massacre Fearmonger
Reasonably good TDM from an act that excels in executing formulae strongly. There's plenty of wanking, plenty of grinding, and no variation whatsoever. It's exactly what I look for from a TDM record, tbh.
Between the Buried and Me Coma Ecliptic
Between the Buried and Me The Great Misdirect
Between the Buried and Me Between the Buried and Me
Biesy Transsatanizm
Black Curse Endless Wound
Blood Command Cult Drugs
Bolzer Aura
Bonecarver Evil
Borknagar True North
Brand of Sacrifice Lifeblood
BUCK-TICK Hurry Up Mode
Buckethead Enter The Chicken (Reissue)
Buckethead Jordan
Buckethead Enter the Chicken
Buckethead Day of the Robot
Burnt By the Sun The Perfect is the Enemy of the Good
Caligula's Horse Rise Radiant
Caligula's Horse Bloom
This is a tough rating for me. There are quite a few things I really enjoy about this album: lyrical content, song structure in general, variety of sound, solid riffs. It's just that Bloom doesn't quite excite me to the same degree that, say, Haken do on Vector. The album is well-produced and well-executed, but it doesn't stir a huge emotional response to push the record up to the next level.
Capsule (US) Blue
I hate to say it, but the post-rock/sludgy passages permeating much of the second half of this LP really turn me off. Capsule's more active hardcore sound is pummeling and persuasively powerful. The presence of melody and even a tinge of mathcore felt in the riffage (when it actually appears) distinguish Capsule's sound from other late 2000s HC pretenders. I get that the long dissonant stretches are meant to accentuate the intensity of the HC-driven passages, but they are far more effective in turning me off as a listener. That said, there are enough rewarding spans of HC goodness to save this album.
Car Bomb w^w^^w^w
This record is Meta's pupal form: raw production, unfinished, questionable ideas (take the confused yelping on Finish It), and less consistent energy. To be fair, though, through all of their records, this being no exception, Meta are a mighty force of musicianship and sound candy for the extreme metal fan. There's a lot of redeeming value amidst the muck here.
Car Bomb Mordial
Car Bomb Centralia
Caspian On Circles
Causa Sui Szabodelico
Central (RUS) Время
Chain Gang Grave Cement Mind
Chet Baker Chet Baker & Strings
Children of Bodom Follow the Reaper
Children of Bodom Hate Crew Deathroll
Circa Survive Blue Sky Noise
Claud Super Monster
Closer (US) within one stem
Cloudkicker Solitude
Coheed and Cambria The Unheavenly Creatures
Coheed and Cambria The Afterman: Descension
Coheed and Cambria The Afterman: Ascension
Coheed and Cambria The Second Stage Turbine Blade
Covet technicolor
I don't like that I'm coming around to the fact that much modern mathy rock simply exists to numb my mind and evoke mildly pleasant feelings. I really admire Yvette Young as a musician and artist and I espouse and recognize her massive talent and skill. Unfortunately, Covet's music does not engage me as intensely or consistently as it should given Young's sizable prowess. It's relatively easy listening for a math release, and while it contains a lot of pleasant riffs and impressive instrumentation, it doesn't quite grip me like it should on paper. That being said, technicolor is a fine listen.
Covet effloresce
Crippled Black Phoenix Ellengaest
Cryptic Shift Visitations from Enceladus
Cult Of Fire Ascetic Meditation Of Death
Currents The Way It Ends
I don't like to be too precise with ratings given that my perceptions of album tend to fluctuate over time (like most people's do). This record, however, seems like it'll earn its trade in the middle 3s. The record is decently executed modern metalcore, but doesn't balance its clear strengths (harsher passages) with weaker areas (cleans). I'm not excited.
Daerrwin Uv'Derekh
Dance Gavin Dance Instant Gratification
Dance Gavin Dance Downtown Battle Mountain II
Dark Fortress Spectres from the Old World
Dave Harvey Get Mental
Devil Sold His Soul Loss
Dio Holy Diver
Donald Byrd Byrd In Hand
Donald Byrd The Cat Walk
Donald Byrd Slow Drag
Dream Theater Octavarium
Duma Duma
Dvne Etemen Ænka
Dyssidia Costly Signals
Though Dyssidia wear all their influences squarely on their sleeves for all to see (Dream Theater and Opeth are clear progenitors), Costly Signals is executed well enough to establish the Australian band as prog metal up-and-comers. There are plenty of catchy moments, surprising verses, and grandiose structures to keep the listener paying attention at least and enthralled at best.
Ed Jacobs Addressing Wonder: The Music of Ed Jacobs
Eden Maine The Treachery Pact
Elder (USA-MA) Omens
END (USA-NJ) From the Unforgiving Arms of God
Envy The Eyes Of A Single-Eared Prophet
Envy Alnair in August
Eoront Gods Have No Home
ERRA Drift
Esoctrilihum Eternity Of Shaog
Evergrey Escape of the Phoenix
Evilyn Inside Shells
Eximperitus... Šahrartu
Expander Neuropunk Boostergang
Explosions in the Sky All of a Sudden, I Miss Everyone
Explosions in the Sky The Earth is Not a Cold Dead Place
Fallujah Dreamless
Fightstar Behind the Devil's Back
Finch Say Hello to Sunshine
Fire! Orchestra Arrival
Flying Lotus Flamagra
Flylo hits it real long here. From an artistic standpoint, this is a solid achievement; a two-act menagerie of interesting beats and inventive features. There isn't a single standout hit in this record, but quality is fairly consistent throughout.
Fontaines D.C. A Hero's Death
Four Stroke Baron Planet Silver Screen
The Vola comparisons are real. Four Stroke Baron craft their sound reasonably well on this record in a blend of 80's goth vocals and late-aughts prog atmosphere. The shift in styles from first to second half is what takes this album down slightly for me - two somewhat distinct stylistic choices that don't quite segue between one another perfectly. For Planet Silver Screen to be a better album, I'd have liked to see a more convincing unity between Four Stroke Baron's characteristic sounds. As it is, there's still a great deal to enjoy here.
Frog Whatever We Probably Already Had It
From Autumn To Ashes Too Bad You're Beautiful
From Autumn To Ashes The Fiction We Live
Gallows Orchestra Of Wolves
Genghis Tron Board Up the House
Ghost (SWE) Prequelle
Gi Gi Lumino Pleco
Glass Kites Glass Kites II
Gojira The Link
Good Willsmith HausLive 2: Good Willsmith at Sleeping Village, 4​
Gouge Out Introspection Rundown
Grima Rotten Garden
Guided by Voices Bee Thousand
Gynoid The Hunger Artist Show
Hands Like Houses Dissonants
Havukruunu Uinuos Syomein Sota
I mean, it's finely crafted power-infused black metal. It's infectious and easy to listen to, but I don't find this work quite as rewarding as I expected. The tracks don't grip me, and for as strong as the guitarwork is, the vocals and other instrumentation just don't hit me as hard.
Helena Celle's Imaginal Designs Copy Music
Hella Tripper
Hella fuse mathy technicality with noise sensibilities to create a persistent cacophony. The drumming is a wonder to behold, but Hella do unfortunately stray a bit too close for comfort into the wank category, and their noisiness doesn't exactly pull things back like they may have intended. To backtrack a little, though, the injection of noise elevates a Tero Melos-esque soundscape into something akin to the lovechild of TDEP and Covet. Plus, there's plenty of NorCal love to be had.
Herbie Hancock Takin' Off
Here's to Now Mindfulness
Herzel Le Dernier Rempart
Himsa Courting Tragedy & Disaster
Hungry Lights The Awry Ascent
I the Mighty Oil In Water
Ibrahim Maalouf S3NS
Icarus the Owl Pilot Waves
Icarus the Owl Icarus the Owl
Ice Nine Kills The Silver Scream
This is the type of Americana we truly need - wrapped up in a metalcore package, cheese factor turned up to 11, cultural touchstones on a track by track basis. Most fun you can have. Thank god I didn't have to use the word 'atmosphere'
ichika He Never Fades
Ichika's distinctive, masterful picking is on full display here. He employs his technical prowess in a variety of ways to communicate atmosphere and emotion; the sparse soundscapes are ripe for his playing style. Though a brief and not-bombastic record, he never fades is a fine listen.
Ihsahn Amr
In Flames Come Clarity
Infant Island Beneath
Inside The Beehive Drink Bleach; Live Forever
Intervals The Shape of Colour
Technical chops here, some pretty melodies and whatnot - but this just does not grab me the same way early Chon did or that Polyphia does to this day. Intervals here with perfectly fine instrumental prog music, but nothing innovative whatsoever.
Intervals Circadian
Intervals The Way Forward
Iotunn Access All Worlds
Izy Irene
Jack The Joker Mors Volta
James Brandon Lewis Jesup Wagon
Jazz Spastiks Camera of Sound
Jizue Story
Job for a Cowboy Sun Eater
Joe Satriani Surfing With The Alien
John Pope Quintet Mixed with Glass
Julia Kwamya Feel Good About Feeling Bad
Justice For The Damned Pain Is Power
Kabbalah The Omen
KALI Trio Loom
Kanonenfieber Menschenmühle
Katatonia City Burials
Kekht Arakh Pale Swordsman
Kenny Dorham Afro-Cuban
Maybe it's not the most innovative, complex, or even consistent jazz records out there, but Kenny Dorham's Afro-Cuban is a fun piece with enough energy and groove to placate the rabid r/jazzcj Neanderthal.
Kenta Shimakawa Glimpse
Keygen Church ░█░█░░█░█░█░
Killswitch Engage The End of Heartache
Killswitch Engage As Daylight Dies
Killswitch Engage Alive or Just Breathing
King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard L. W.
Koenji Hyakkei Dhorimviskha
Kolya Kolya
Korn Follow the Leader
Korn Korn
Lamb of God Ashes of the Wake
Laura Stevenson The Big Freeze
The Big Freeze brims with melancholy and downtempo guitar playing, yet Laura Stevenson's voice comforts the listener as it shimmers. There's soul and a shy confidence about Laura Stevenson that convinces the listener, and this overshadows any shortcomings due to songwriting.
Lava La Rue BUTTER-FLY
Light Dweller Hominal
Linkin Park Hybrid Theory
Liquid Tension Experiment Liquid Tension Experiment
Loathe (UK) I Let It In And It Took Everything
Los Males Del Mundo Descent Towards Death
Lost Horizons In Quiet Moments
Luna's Call Void
Lunarette Clair de Lunarette
Mamaleek Come and See
Mammal Hands Animalia
Avant-garde and yet accessible, Animalia is a decent first full record from Mammal Hands. Ethereal piano and captivating sax are on full display here; definitely worth a spin, but nothing remarkable.
Manes Vilosophe
Pleasant, experimental, innovative. I can only imagine the confounded shock upon the countenances of Manes' (kvltily Nordic) fanbase when this record came out all those years ago. Whatever the BM equivalent of a monocle is (eyebrow stud?), I'm sure it popped off each one of their faces.
Maraudeur Puissance 4
Marilyn Manson Antichrist Superstar
Marmozets The Weird and Wonderful Marmozets
Martin Glass The Pacific Visions of Martin Glass
Materic Between Stone Slabs
Meshuggah obZen
Mestis Eikasia
Javier Reyes crafts a beautiful, jazzy work here to exercise some of his non-AAL energy. It's a shame that any of his projects will be compared to his work in AAL, but the contrast between the work serves to highlight Reyes' songwriting and compositional prowess.
Modest Mouse Good News for People Who Love Bad News
Mol JORD
Molested Divinity Unearthing The Void
Motorpsycho Kingdom of Oblivion
Muse Black Holes & Revelations
Mutoid Man War Moans
Mvltifission Decomposition in the Painful Metamorphosis
Nails Abandon All Life
Ne Obliviscaris Portal of I
NEØV Picture of a Good Life
Necrophobic Dawn of the Damned
Neptunian Maximalism Eons
Nero di Marte Immoto
Niklas Paschburg Svalbard
Nirvana Bleach
NO MAN ERASE
Noda Yuki Soda Sickness
Novelists FR Noir
Odal Welten Mutter
Oh No Noh where one begins and the other stops
Omnivortex Diagrams of Consciousness
Onsegen Ensemble Fear
Orchid Dance Tonight! Revolution Tomorrow!
Organ Freeman Organ Freeman
Organ Freeman Respect My Art
Orisaka Yuta Heisei
Ozzy Osbourne Bark at the Moon
Ozzy Osbourne Diary of a Madman
Ozzy Osbourne Blizzard of Ozz
Ozzy Osbourne The Essential Ozzy Osbourne
Painted Shrines Heaven and Holy
Palm Ghosts Lifeboat Candidate
Palm Reader Sleepless
Pan-Amerikan Native Front Little Turtle's War
Paralydium Worlds Beyond
Paralydium are attracting a great deal of buzz in the infamously rabid prog scene for their virtuous synthesis of Symphony X and Dream Theater influences. While there's no doubt that this LP is a worthy composite of the stylings of the aforementioned prog patriarchs, it often struggles to be more than an antecedent. Synths, uplifting vocals, twisting hooks, and general bombast hearken a little too close to SymphTheater for my own comfort. Aside from this lack of creativity, though, Worlds Beyond is somewhat enjoyable. It's easy to listen to, well produced, and varied enough in sound to keep the listener engaged. If Paralydium can capitalize on what distinguishes them from their vaunted forebears, they have a promising future.
Parannoul To See the Next Part of the Dream
Parquet Courts Wide Awake
Peace'd Out Feelings Blade
2020 HC in a nutshell. Emotive, powerful vox, twisty-turny riffage, tempo changes, and dissonant production combine to communicate pleasingly slapdash snack for the listener.
Pelican Nighttime Stories
Perihelion Gnosis Syzygial Summoning
Periphery Periphery IV: Hail Stan
Periphery Periphery
Plini The End of Everything
A solid trio of tracks that showcase Plini's consistent ability to craft deliciously palatable prog-fusion. I don't love this as much as, say, Handmade Cities, for some of the same reasons I've cited for other of his records - namely, Plini succeeds the most when he directs his efforts towards imparting emotion into his tracks. There's a good deal of that to accompany the typically brilliant musicianship at play here, but the tracks just don't land as hard with me.
Plini Singles (2012-2014)
There are moments of brilliance on this record, and though it may not be jampacked with them like
some of his other work, Plini still finds the time to showcase his prodigious skills. What the man
can do with a bedroom is impressive; I don't usually love to shout out specific tracks in
soundoffs, but in this case, I can't overlook Ko Ki. It's the best exhibition of what makes a
great Plini cut on this record. It has technical guitar noodling, ample jazz elements, showcases
exemplary piano work, and, above all, leaves the listener emotionally invested. The rest of the EP
may not be quite as strong, but there is still plenty of redeeming value in the impressive
guitarwork as always.
Plini Sunhead
Polaris (AUS) The Death of Me
Polyphia Renaissance
This is a tough rating for me. I'll praise Tim Henson till the day I die and will always laud his willingness to forge ahead in merging pop hooks/melodies with mathy fretwork, but Renaissance lost a bit in the process. The mixing isn't perfect and the drums are not nearly as tight as in later Polyphia releases. While there are some truly superb cuts on Renaissance, the record has some flaws that hold it back.
Polyphia Muse (Re-release)
Portico Quartet Knee Deep in the North Sea
Portico Quartet Portico Quartet
Portico Quartet Memory Streams
Power Trip Manifest Decimation
Powerglove Metal Kombat for the Mortal Man
Praam Luminance
Protest the Hero Fortress
Protest the Hero Pacific Myth
Prototype Continuum
Pure Reason Revolution Eupnea
This album is a showcase in fluidity, melody, and poise. Production highlights the electronic influences, heightens the record's characteristic twin vocal harmonics, and makes accessible the distinct prog rock climaxes dotting Eupnea's soundscapes. Each track is its own being yet the sound is extremely cohesive and represents Eupnea both 10 years removed from their last record and yet terrifically cognizant of where they left off sonically. I probably would have liked a bit more heaviness to balance out the light beauty, but Eupnea is still a wonderful listen.
Pyrrhon Abscess Time
Rabbit Rabbit Radio Rabbit Rabbit Radio, Volume 4 - The Animal I Am
Raein Ah, As If...
Revulsion (FIN) Revulsion
Rotting Christ Theogonia
Santi Debriano Flash of the Spirit
Scale the Summit The Migration
Scarred Gaia - Medea
Secret Band LP2
Shadows Fall The Art of Balance
Shai Maestro Human
Shaking Chains Overvalued Ideas
Shpongle Carnival of Peculiarities
Sianvar Stay Lost
Sitka Sun All The Way West
Skeletal Remains The Entombment of Chaos
Skeleton Skeleton
Energetic blackened punk for all y'all ripped denim shorts crusty sk8ers
Skycamefalling 10.21
Skycamefalling are persistently overlooked, but this album is a testament to the musical potential they never fully realized. Though 10.21 may be hampered by some poor production value and almost-tediously repetitive structure from song to song, there are flashes of brilliance throughout. Christopher's harsh vocals surge across each track with a potent, raspy vehemence, often linking up with the punky power chords Cameron employs and the punchy fills Brian uses to punctuate each track. Cameron's addition of piano invites a welcome complexity to seep into each track, but on the theme of poor production I do believe Skycamefalling hampered themselves a bit here. I feel more experimentation with song structures, more distinct fretwork, and less inhibition from Brian on drums would have opened this album up much more and allowed it to ascend into early 2000s metalcore royalty. That all being said, this is a consistently strong record with a few standout tracks and a worthwhile listen for any 'core fan.
Slowly Building Weapons Sunbirds
Talk about a gem that deserves more praise! The raw production values are kind of a downside, but the merciless vocals, intensifying chord progressions, and groovy drums are highlights. SBW's mix of black metal, hxcore, and mxcore is promising, and I hope a major label picks them up and amps up the production.
Snooze Familiaris
Snooze create a thematically consistent, not-too-silly work about the life cycle of a dog. Points for executing that well, but they also execute true math rock with no real frills. Vox are standout here, the songs are catchy, and the album is pretty solid. I'd like to see Snooze get a bit more adventurous with song structures in the future, but I'd be okay if they do something like this again as well.
Spaceships Pillars
Spinebreaker Ice Grave
Stargazer (AUS) Psychic Secretions
Stars Hollow I Want To Live My Life
Stellar Circuits Ways We Haunt
Stortregn Uncreation
Stortregn Singularity
Stortregn Emptiness Fills the Void
Stortregn Impermanence
Strawberry Girls American Graffiti
Strawberry Girls French Ghetto
Strike Anywhere Iron Front
Sunami/Gulch Split
Susie Ibarra / Claire Chase / Alex Peh Talking Gong
Sweet Trip Walkers Beware! We Drive Into The Sun / Stab/Slow
Sylosis The Supreme Oppressor
Synovial Songs of Silver
Synovial stand just a little bit taller than most of their progcore peers with this record, though they don't depart too much from the norm - think if Erra incorporated more death metal influences (e.g., stronger harsh vocals) into their sound. The record shows some promise for Synovial, as it's chock full of melodies interwoven with strong guitars and a good deal of heaviness. A bit more innovation would be nice, though, as this genre needs it badly.
System of a Down Mezmerize
System of a Down Steal This Album!
System of a Down System of a Down
Temple Nightside Pillars of Damnation
Tera Melos Drugs to the Dear Youth
Short and sweet, a readily accessible yet impressively complex cauldron of mathy experimentation. Those drums make me frisky.
Tera Melos Trash Generator
Terra Tenebrosa The Tunnels
TesseracT Sonder
Thank You Scientist The Perils of Time Travel
The Afterimage Lumière
The Altogether Silo
The Antikaroshi Extract.Transform.Debase
The Bad Plus Activate Infinity
The Daysleepers Drowned in a Sea of Sound
The Ghost Inside The Ghost Inside
It's not generic melodic hardcore if it's executed to the T generic melodic hardcore!
The Suicide Machines Destruction By Definition
Thy Catafalque Naiv
Tingvall Trio Dance
toe For Long Tomorrow
For as much as the vox do not jibe at all with the rest of the music. For as much as the tracks rblend together a bit too well. For as much as I totally zone out when I listen to FLT. Drums.
toe Hear You
toe The Book About My Idle Plot on a Vague Anxiety
Toluca Darvo
Tormentor Anno Domini
Torrential Downpour TwentyTwentyTwenty
Towers Bel Air Highrise Plantation
Tricot Makkuro
A standard sunny release from Tricot belying the album cover, Makkuro is a solid showcase of the group's defining characteristics. Tricot excel at infusing harmony and melody with Japanese math rock drumming and guitar noodling, but you get the sense they're slightly living below their potential here.
Tricot The
Ulver Perdition City
Unexpect In a Flesh Aquarium
Valdrin Effigy Of Nightmares
Effigy of Nightmares is a pleasant surprise. Full disclosure, I was expecting this record to be a reasonably well done if completely non-memorable slab of gloomy black metal. Valdrin do check off quite a few of those boxes - BBs, tremolos, etc. But the riffs impart a great deal of melody, the shrieks are mixed at a proper volume, and the atmosphere is both present and dissonant.
Various Artists (Electronic) Doom Mix, Vol. V
Vision of Disorder Imprint
VoidCeremony Entropic Reflections Continuum: Dimensional...
Solid DM release that veers a little too close to Cynic, Death, or Atheist for my comfort, but VoidCeremony still show tons of chops. The bass is absurd, the drums approximately 67% as masterful as Ulcerate's Jamie, and the general prog noodling is cohesive with the rest of the sound. This record is the definition of near perfect execution of an unfortunately derivative idea.
Vredehammer Viperous
Wake Devouring Ruin
Wake Confluence
Wayfarer A Romance With Violence
Winterfylleth The Reckoning Dawn
The Reckoning Dawn is atmospheric and pretty, yet it rarely backs off from heavy riffage, powerful shrieks, and the requisite BBs. Checking out the rest of Winterfylleth's discog reveals their latest release is pretty much par for the course for one of the more prominent bands in the English BM scene. That's not to say this record is trite - far from it, as the passages are lush and packed with plenty of interesting lyrical twists and melodies to engage the listener. Halfway through May I'd say it's my album of the month, despite the lack of experimentation on the part of the artist. Title track is a beast.
Wormed Exodromos
Worn Human Work
Yellow Ostrich Soft
Yngwie Malmsteen Rising Force
Yngwie Malmsteen 20th Century Masters
Yngwie Malmsteen Marching Out
Yngwie Malmsteen Odyssey
Young Mountain Lost Tree
everybody say 3.5 keep it going. solid skramzz but idk if it's worth many revisits
Yung Ongoing Dispute
Yvette Young Piano EP
Some gorgeous mathematic wankery on the piano. Yvette Young flexes her non-guitar proficiency in a pretty outstanding way; one wonders if technical showboating comes at the expense of tight composition, but nonetheless this is a gorgeous listen on the whole.
Yvette Young Acoustics EP 2
Zmar Zmar

3.0 good
Abiotic Ikigai
Abnormality Mechanisms of Omniscience
AC/DC Back In Black
AC/DC Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap
AC/DC T.N.T.
AC/DC High Voltage
Acrimony Tumuli Shroomaroom
Adios Cometa La Isla Que Somos
Aeternam Al Qassam
After Altamont An Animal Orchestra Remixed
Akshara Absolution
Alicia Clara Outsider/Unusual
Amorphis Queen of Time
Animals As Leaders Weightless
As much of an AAL stan as I was for many years, I can't heap praise onto the all-important sophomore effort the 'group' launched way back when. Weightless is even more of an exercise in Tosin's individuality as a performer than the excellent self-titled debut as he is the only member to demonstrate any sort of vitality - and even that might be overstatement. Besides an uninspired, half-digital rhythm section, Tosin's leads are occasionally gorgeous but mostly soulless. We're fortunate that AAL picked it up with their next release.
Another Sky Music For Winter Vol. 1
Antre Dark Spectrum
Arch Echo You Won't Believe What Happens Next!
Arch Echo are pure fun. Unpretentious, lovely hooks and rhythms, some surprisingly heavy riffage playing off carnival synths. This record doesn't quite live up to their debut album, but it has plenty to offer.
Arktida Не Стоит Слёз
Arminda K It's Nearly Night Time
Aronious Perspicacity
Aronious flex a little too hard with this one. It's one thing to pack your album to the brim with technically accomplished riffage in the name of prog tech death; it's another to straight up overwhelm the listener with riffs on track after track. Far too often do Aronious leave the listener in the dust on Perspicacity, which is a darn shame as there is a lot of good stuff lurking below the surface here. Aronious should have cut the record in 1/2, saved some ideas for later, and polished what's left. They do have the tools to create an astonishingly brilliant tech death record, they just need to exercise restraint to get there.
Arya For Ever
There are flashes of promise from Arya's Oct. 2020 release. The production is generally spotless, the clean vocals are wide-ranging and mostly powerful, and the instrumentals, when firing on all cylinders, are complex and well-executed. Sadly, though, this record falls short of its grand ambitions. Long, uninteresting ambient sections serve as bridges between tracks that try earnestly to stand on their own as prog metal opuses - Arya look to achieve some sort of Ephel Duath-experimental brilliance, but their meandering compositions look disingenuously haphazard. The variation across tracks is calculated, yes, but not cohesive and not part of a broader story. Overall, For Ever shows a high degree of promise, but Arya could benefit from more time at the drawing board. Oh, and the male harshes suck.
As I Lay Dying Frail Words Collapse
ASIDEFROMADAY Manufactured Landscape
Atlases Woe Portrait
Auragraph Opacity Field
Avenged Sevenfold Sounding the Seventh Trumpet
Not the worst album a young A7X could put out by any means, but a pretty forgettable slice of early 2000s hard/metalcore. If Syn featured on more than just the opener, this album could have been a little bit better or a lot worse, depending on how much Zacky V got him under control. Regardless, the Rev is the highlight of this album, for better or for worse.
Avenged Sevenfold City of Evil
Badlands (SWE) Djinn
Baroness Gold and Grey
Baroness Yellow and Green
Beachwood Sparks Beachwood Deluxe
Beast Mode Pound of Flesh
Between the Buried and Me Automata I
I consider myself an ardent BTBAM fan but I find less of redeeming value here than I'm usually willing to admit. The progressive song structures are as complex as always and the instrumentation tends to be strong, but the album just does not resonate for me. If this is the equivalent of BTBAM phoning it in, I guess I'll take it.
Binary Code Moonsblood
This record rose a lot of fuss for supposedly cementing Binary Code's place as the djentified heir apparent to Opeth, but the supreme degradation of the group's sound from a deathcore-centered take on djent to a more melodic approach took out a lot of what was attractive about BC in the first place. The lack of muscle on this record stings, but there are some redeeming factors, particularly the last track. Bring it back, boys!
Black Button I Want To Be In Control
Black Matter Device Hostile Architecture
BUCK-TICK Sexual XXXXX!
Buckethead Bucketheadland
Buckethead Kaleidoscalp
Bullet For My Valentine Scream, Aim, Fire
Bullet For My Valentine The Poison
Caustic Wound Death Posture
Chain Gang Grave Bury Them and Keep Quiet
Chain Gang Grave We Fight Entropy/Suffer For Your Art
Chet Baker Chet Baker Sings
Chet Baker Chet Baker Sings: It Could Happen to You
Children of Bodom Hatebreeder
CityCop Seasons
Clever Girl No Drum And Bass in the Jazz Room
Coheed and Cambria Year of the Black Rainbow
Coheed and Cambria No World for Tomorrow
Cohol Rigen
Covet acoustics
Crow Killer Enslaved to One
Cryptodira The Angel of History
Dance Gavin Dance Acceptance Speech
This is probably DGD's low point for me. They're trying to cohere between Tilian's pop sensibilities and the rest of the group's PH chops, and Acceptance Speech fused the two into a bit of a malformed entity. There are certainly tracks that I quite enjoy here, but most of the record is poorly mixed, lyrically choppy, and unfocused overall. Still, the pieces are clearly there, and, luckily for us, DGD eventually figured out how to best pair Jon and Tilian and how not to mix Will out.
Dance Gavin Dance Afterburner
Sadly, I, like some others, find my opinion of this album declining with repeated listens. Aside from a few nuggets ("Prisoner" and "Say Hi" jump most readily to mind), Afterburner is entirely forgettable for me. Tilian overindulges way too much, crowding Jon out and oftentimes disintegrating what remains of DGD's old post-hardcore energy. This record is mostly phoning in - see Swan's stereotypical noodling filling the background of every track - and there's nothing fresh.
Dance Gavin Dance Artificial Selection
Dance Gavin Dance Mothership
Dance Gavin Dance Dance Gavin Dance
Dark Tranquillity Moment
Decoherence Unitarity
Unfortunately, I don't find this so compelling. It's atmospheric and moody, of course, but it doesn't grip the listener quite like its contemporary cousin in dissonant black metal Alphaville does.
Demon Hunter Summer of Darkness
Descend The Deviant
Scoot and Evngelancer's soundoffs characterize this album perfectly, though I must further emphasize how derivative this album sounds. It's certainly performed well, produced well, and packaged well. The rhythmic pacing, the soaring vocals, the extended chord stays, the underlying melodies: The Deviant produce an Opeth-Akerfeldt tribute if I ever saw one. This group clearly has tons of talent and lots of love for their scene. Let's see them throw some more creativity into their next release.
Dionaea Grounds
Disturbed Ten Thousand Fists
Dogleg Melee
Donald Byrd Off to the races
DOWRR Into Decrepitude
DragonForce Sonic Firestorm
Drain (USA-CA) California Cursed
Santa Cruising for a bruising, am I right? Oddly danceable.
Drowning Pool Sinner
Dukla Z dálky píseň
Ebonivory The Long Dream I
I was really psyched for this album. Ebonivory released a few intriguing singles over the course of a long while leading up to this record's release and my interest was more than piqued by their blend of catchy choruses and standard late 2010s prog metal tropes. This album appeared to play both to Ebonivory's strengths and my own musical tastes, but I've been let down. The transitions are rough, the new material is pretty weak, and the elongation of the singles in their album form detracts from the pure joy they communicated previously. This album's blunted impact is a darn shame, because Ebonivory had an awfully high ceiling.
Ehsan Gelsi Ephemera
Elena Korzhenevich Pure
Ellis Born Again
Despite a lack of variation in sound from track to track, Siggelkow's angelic voice saves the day. While there may not be a lot of boundary-pushing going on, the lilting vocal caresses entwining each track still make Born Again a rewarding listen. Perhaps she could have been a bit more emotive or separated more from her artistic influences, but Siggelkow's talent is on display and I have hopes she claims more of her own space on her next release.
Emeka Ogboh Beyond the Yellow Haze
Empyrium Über den Sternen
Endzweck The Naked and the Dead
Entropy Created Consciousness Impressions of the Morning Star
Envy From Here To Eternity
Epica The Holographic Principle
ERRA Neon
ERRA ERRA
Explosions in the Sky How Strange, Innocence
Eyelashes! Venus' Flower Basket IV
Fake Fruit Fake Fruit
Fugazi Repeater
Gabo Bicicleta Sem Rodinha
Glass Kites Glass Kites
God's Hate God's Hate
Gojira Terra Incognita
Greg Puciato Child Soldier: Creator of God
Hakushi Hasegawa Bones of Dreams Attacked!
Hatebreed Rise of Brutality
Henry Grant Sensations
How to Be Dead Lights at the Ends of Tunnels
Hulder Godslastering: Hymns of a Forlorn Peasantry
Human Impact EP01
Humanity's Last Breath Välde
Hungry Lights Heavy Is The Crown
ichika She Waits Patiently
Another standard rendition of Ichika's trademark angelic guitarwork. His picking is on full display here, and while there isn't much to separate from the rest of his oeuvre, the record is pleasant and a solid display of picking.
Incubus (USA-CA) Enjoy Incubus
Inoculation Celestial Putridity
Inter Arma Sky Burial
Intronaut Fluid Existential Inversions
Iwrestledabearonce Hail Mary
Job for a Cowboy Demonocracy
Job for a Cowboy Ruination
King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard K.G.
Korn Life Is Peachy
Krallice Demonic Wealth
La Quiete Tenpeun 01.05
Linkin Park Meteora
Liturgy Origin of the Alimonies
Mammoth Deviations
Marasmus Necrotic Overlord
Maria BC Devil's Rain
Marilyn Manson The Golden Age of Grotesque
Master Boot Record C:\>DEFRAG
Megadeth Endgame
Merda Mundi Hatred
A calming and soothing mix of lullabies perfect for a kindergartner's ear.
Metallica Master of Puppets
I can't say much that hasn't been said by others in the camp of "Extremely Overrated Metallica record." From a standpoint of sheer influence, this album would deserve a higher rating; unfortunately, the musical appeal of Master of Puppets wears away pretty quickly. Aside from Battery, which remains one of my favorite Metallica cuts, I find a lot of this record not gripping nor all that innovative. The title track is extremely overblown IMO, and there aren't many highlights from the tracks I haven't named (except, perhaps, Orion).
Michael Peter Olsen Yearning Flow
Miles Davis Star People
Misery Signals Ultraviolet
Unfortunately, this is contemporary Misery Signals. Monotonous vocals and uninspired fretwork cannot compensate for a stellar rhythm section and occasional spots of emotional outpouring. Misery Signals are at their best when they inject their music with feeling, and much of this record feels phoned in.
Montagne Black Waterfall
Moon Tooth Chromaparagon
Mudvayne L.D. 50
My Lonely Sea Havoc
Neon Empire Distorted Reality
My hopes after a few listens are that NEON Empire can forge beyond the EP they've churned out this year. Incorporating electronic elements in metalcore is a specifically ripe genre at the moment, with artists typically succeeding when they merge a unique, finely-executed metalcore sound with well-placed electronic elements. NEON Empire just about succeed in the latter (breaking no ground, I may add) but don't quite hit the mark with their non-electronic sound. The whole package is a tad unoriginal and uninspired, but there are a few flashes of promise. I hope the group return to the drawing board with some fresh ideas since I have yet to see a truly stunning electrocore record.
Olivier Messiaen Les Offrandes oubliées
Omegavortex Black Abomination Spawn
Ozzy Osbourne No More Tears
Paul Jacobs (CAN) Pink Dogs on the Green Grass
PDP III Pilled Up on a Couple of Doves
Periphery Periphery III: Select Difficulty
Plini Sweet Nothings
I'll kiss the ground Plini walks on, but Sweet Nothings left me a tad wanting compared to his other phenomenal works. Don't get me wrong here - the songs are well produced and exceptionally written. However, the strength of Plini's artistry is that he conveys a massive emotional impact through a fusion of jazz licks and progressive metal soundscapes. In Sweet Nothings, unfortunately, I find little in the way of emotional response to the record, and I also feel that Plini occasionally emulates Tosin a little too heavily. That is, he forsakes his strengths (aforementioned emotive power) in an attempt to craft cerebral works of import to music theorists everywhere. That's not to say Plini should be less ambitious, I just believe he succeeds when he plays up his strengths, and there's nothing wrong with that.
Polyphia Muse
Polyphia Inspire
Portico Quartet We Welcome Tomorrow
The ambient nature of this EP is soothing, but I'd have liked to see Portico Quartet focus on developing more intricate soundscapes if they're going to create an entirely atmospheric record. It's a pleasant listen, but not much more.
Protest the Hero Scurrilous
Purplefox Town Who Is Malkallam?
Pyramaze Epitaph
Quadraphonnes + Andrew Durkin Five-Pointed Star
Queens of the Stone Age Era Vulgaris
Red Hot Chili Peppers Stadium Arcadium
Robohands Shapes
Rolo Tomassi Hysterics
Scott Hamilton The Right Time
Senyawa Alkisah
Sevendust Seasons
Shell of a Shell Away Team
Sithu Aye Senpai III
Ska-P Lágrimas y Gozos
I bumped this quite a bit back in high school, partially out of my nearly blind devotion to ska at
the time and partially to flex on my compatriots who couldn't speak Spanish. The album is front-
loaded with some absolute bangers, and if the whole album were like the first five tracks I'd
probably still listen to Lagrimas y Gozos even though I've outgrown my ska phase. Unfortunately,
there's a steep decline in quality once La Colmena crashes to an end, and no matter how great
Crimen Sollicitationis or El Libertador are I can't excuse the inconsistency in quality.
Ska-P 99%
Ska-P Que Corra La Voz
Ska-P El Vals Del Obrero
Ska-P Incontrolable
Slipknot Slipknot
Slipknot Iowa
Slipknot Vol. 3: The Subliminal Verses
Slipknot We Are Not Your Kind
Snarky Puppy Ground UP
Solitary Vice No One Asks for Anyone
Solstafir Endless Twilight of Codependent Love
Sordid Pink Sordid Pink
Static-X Shadow Zone
Stepping Stone Escape From the Junkyard
Stimulator Jones La Mano
Stone Sour Stone Sour
Stortregn Evocation of Light
Strawberry Girls Tasmanian Glow
Suicidal Tendencies Freedumb
Sunami Sunami
Sunstrife SOL
Sunstrife put out a fairly standard math rock EP. This record sounds a lot like early Chon with less pedalwork on the guitars and an increased role for the drummer. Generally, the instrumentation is well executed, but I'd like to see Sunstrife define their sound more. There is absolutely nothing in the way of innovation here, and while the record listens easily, there are no standouts. I may give this some more thought and extend this into a full blown review at some point, especially since I'd like to hear others' thoughts.
Surmoi Bipolarität
Sylosis Dormant Heart
System of a Down Hypnotize
System of a Down Protect The Land/Genocidal Humanoidz
Tenacious D The Pick of Destiny
Terror Trapped In A World
TesseracT One
TesseracT Polaris
The Circle Metamorphosis
The Devil Wears Prada With Roots Above and Branches Below
The God Awful Truth Memory Palace
The Killers Hot Fuss
The Motion Mosaic Samsara
The Secret Disintoxication
Thirdface Do It With A Smile
Thirty Seconds to Mars A Beautiful Lie
toe Songs, Ideas We Forgot
Tricot Repeat
Tricot craft a typically pretty EP with their signature vocal harmonies but skimp on the instrumental heft that makes their other records great. The songs are easy listens, but I miss the virtuosity that defined their previous releases.
Trivium Ascendancy
Trivium Shogun
Trivium In Waves
Trivium The Sin and the Sentence
Ulver Kveldssanger
Under Old Trees Kelo
under.his.eye under.his.eye
Vasudeva Generator
Vincent Vallires Toute beauté n'est pas perdue
Vous Autres Sel de Pierre
Weald and Woe The Fate of Kings and Men
Yngwie Malmsteen Perpetual Flame
Yngwie Malmsteen Trilogy
Zella Day Where Does The Devil Hide

2.5 average
AC/DC For Those About To Rock We Salute You
Adult Mom Driver
All That Remains Behind Silence and Solitude
All That Remains Overcome
Arcing Wires Prime
Arktida На Горизонте
My recollections of listening to Na Gorizonte > 10 years ago parallel my recollections of middle school. At the time I was fully engrossed, imagining that I was graced with the pinnacle of human experience, and all too convinced that what lay before me would define my life. When these memories surface, I feel a little silly, but it's okay to indulge your inner preteen at times. Arktida's first major release does not hold up for its combination of cliches and poor production choices, but it serves as a benchmark for my taste evolution, if nothing else.
Arlo Parks Collapsed in Sunbeams
As I Lay Dying Awakened
Athar Aghanon Fidelitas
Avenged Sevenfold Nightmare
Avenged Sevenfold Waking the Fallen
Not sure if I can reconcile my own conscience with the fact that I absolutely adored this band as teenager. Returning to it these days leaves me confounded - M Shadows is a godawful vocalist, Syn is a Hammett ripoff, The Rev (RIP) is not nearly the technician I remember him being. There are definitely redeemable qualities about this album - "Second Heartbeat", to some extent "Chapter Four" - but aside from that, I'll be doing my best to absolve myself of my young sins.
Avenged Sevenfold Diamonds in the Rough (2020)
Avenged Sevenfold Diamonds in the Rough
Azath Through a Warren of Shadow
Beecher Resention Is a Big Word in a Small Town
Flashes of promise, but the ideas sound unfinished. There's a striking resemblance to the lesser qualities of From Autumn to Ashes here - whiny, hometown oriented lyrics; muddy production; simplistic, overcooked riffage. There are some redeeming qualities though, with a strong sense of youthful energy and a few bright instrumental passages, particularly from the rhythm section. Later Beecher fixes a lot of the mistakes from this record while maintaining the good qualities of their early work.
Black Knife Murder Season
Broken English Club White Rats III
BUCK-TICK Romanesque
Bxnjamin FOLKLAW
Children with Dog Feet Curb Your Anarchy
CHON CHON
God, this was a hard rating. I was really hyped for this album, despite Chon's weak outing the last go around. I imagined their self-titled effort would become a perennial summer anthem for me; the strength of their early releases combined with continued musical growth from close buds Polyphia set my expectations sky high. Needless to say, I was pretty shocked when, even after at least a dozen playthroughs within a couple of days, I could barely list three tracks I enjoyed to a decent degree. Though Petal is perhaps one of my favorite Chon songs of all time, the rest of the album largely falls flat due to unmemorable hooks, some uninspired playing, and, most importantly, a lack of fresh ideas. Chon regressed with the self-titled. I hope my boys are okay, and that their next release proves me wrong.
CHON Homey
I can't say I love this album, and I can't quite say it's a complete turnoff either. I get where Chon thought they were going with this - Polyphia churned out some impressive work that mixed their trademark mathy structures with some pop and hip hop beats, and Chon wanted to cash in on the action. Unfortunately, despite being a musical evolution for the group and one chock full of summary rhythms and melodies at that, this record does not do it for me, for the most part. Songs are easy listens, but there isn't a whole lot of depth. This sounds so much like Chon's attempt to conform to where they must have imagined the prog scene was headed that it makes my head hurt.
CHON Woohoo!
Coexistence Collateral Dimension
Coheed and Cambria The Color Before The Sun
Crown The End of All Things
Daniel Bachman Axacan
Deiquisitor Humanoid
Deluge Ægo Templo
Disturbed Asylum
Disturbed The Sickness
Disturbed Believe
Doors in the Labyrinth In the Shadow of the Monolith
DragonForce Inhuman Rampage
It's a fun album with some notable highs, but DragonForce remain a band catapulted to stardom via GH3 who subsequently failed to hold the spotlight. There are plenty of other PM bands worth your time. Herman Li and Sam Totman could probably find excellent work in a different project unburdened by the legacy of TTFaF hyperspeed FCs.
Dreamwell Modern Grotesque
E. Town Concrete The Renaissance
Envy Angel's Curse Whispered in the Edge of Despair
Erick The Architect Future Proof
Fallujah Undying Light
Fossilization He Whose Name Was Long Forgotten
Genghis Tron Dead Mountain Mouth
Green Carnation Leaves Of Yesteryear
Haku Sungho The Farthest Creole
Heliocentric Ishmael
Herbie Hancock My Point of View
Herbie Hancock Death Wish
Himsa Ground Breaking Ceremony
Howling Giant Alteration
Humavoid Lidless
Hungry Lights Three Gods & Me
In Chasms Deep The Wind and Her Lament
This is disappointing. In Chasms Deep attempt to ca$h in on the blackgaze-meets-post-metal trend, but they bring positively nothing fresh to the table. The tremolos are half-baked, the rhythm is nothing remarkable to the point of being phoned in, and the song structures are all kinds of derivative. In Chasms Deep turn in a photocopied effort that's executed well enough to be listenable. That's about it.
Ingested Where Only Gods May Tread
Iwrestledabearonce Late for Nothing
Jakub Zytecki Nothing Lasts, Nothing's Lost
Job for a Cowboy Genesis
Juan Bond Womb
Lamb of God New American Gospel
Lau (UK) Believer
Les Chants de Nihil Le Tyran Et L'esthète
This album could have been a lot more interesting, but "Le Tryan et L'esthete" is a tragic case of sky-high ambition not quite squaring with talent or direction. The record, broken into three trilogies, whisks the listener briskly from tremolo-led, blast-beat ridden, throat-thrashing passages of pure fury to symphonic chants to melodic passages to atmosphere to...what, exactly? The breathless experience of listening to this record is at times too overwhelming to notice the high points. The mix is actually not that bad, with plenty of audible bass, a strong interplay between the different vocal styles (shrieks, groans, roars, and choral chanting), and the guitars rule. There are some shining moments of beauty or anger, and, occasionally, a full-length song turns out okay (Track 7 is a certified banger). Upon completion, though, I'm puzzled.
Light Field Reverie Another World
Linkin Park Minutes to Midnight
Linkin Park A Thousand Suns
Mathieu Fiset RoboJazz
Megadeth Th1rt3en
Metallica Death Magnetic
This is definitely, definitely better than any album Metallica has released since the self titled, and I will stand and die on that statement. Of course, this isn't saying a whole lot, but props to Metallica for trying yet again.
Metallica Hardwired... to Self-Destruct
I mean, it was a hell of a lot better than it could have been. HtSD truly sounds like a vintage Metallica album, and given their track record that's rare praise. There are definitely some certified hits on this baby, and I find a hell of a lot more redeeming qualities to this than most of their work since the 90s. Still, though, it's a bloated effort straight from a money machine. There's not much fresh here, though there's a reasonable quantity of energy for a group of old farts. I'm not exactly disappointed overall, really, just a bit bored.
Metallica Load
Metaphobic Demo 2021
Miles Davis Aura
Miles Davis Decoy
Mudvayne The End of All Things to Come
Mudvayne Mudvayne
Murderdolls Beyond The Valley of the Murderdolls
Muse The Resistance
Muse Drones
Nervosa Perpetual Chaos
Niklas Paschburg Oceanic
Solid ambient jazz with gentle piano and synth melodies. Decently well executed but nothing refreshing composition-wise.
Noxantes Never Seen
Nyck Caution Anywhere But Here
Nyctophagia Terrified of Tomorrow
Our Friend the Sun Let Me Out of History
Ozzy Osbourne Ozzmosis
Ozzy Osbourne No Rest for the Wicked
Ozzy Osbourne Down to Earth
Ozzy Osbourne Black Rain
Ozzy Osbourne Ordinary Man
Paranorm Empyrean
Paysage d'Hiver Im Wald
Okay folks, I must draw the line here. There are some superb, beautiful, positively chilling moments on this record. Pd'H excel at their craft - there's no doubt they can whisk the listener to an Arctic place filled with shimmering dark chords and ambience. But like...it's two hours. And they play approximately 3 notes per song.
Phantasmagore Insurrection or Submission
Polyphia Resurrect
Psychostick Sandwich
Rannoch Reflections Upon Darkness
Man, I just don't get this album. There are signs that Rannoch have the pieces to output a fantastic slice of PDM, but they're lost amidst repetitive song structures, choppily placed interludes, intermittently well-executed instrumentals, and a derivative sound overall. For Rannoch to succeed my expectations for future work, I'd like to see a more cohesive style, more focused experimentation, and a general looseness. More than a few spins of Reflections Upon Darkness leave me with the impression that Rannoch are trying too hard to confirm to the norms of their genre/their PDM predecessors.
Revenant Marquis Youth In Ribbons
Sarcasm (UK) Creeping Life
Scribble Selected Works 1983–86
Ska-P Planeta Eskoria
Slipknot All Hope Is Gone
Slipknot .5: The Gray Chapter
SOiL Redefine
SOUL GLO DisNigga Vol. 1
Still Corners The Last Exit
Sylosis Monolith
Takatak Acrophase
Tchornobog Tchornobog
Tenacious D Rize of the Fenix
Terminal Nation Holocene Extinction
Terzij de Horde Self
This is a mixed bag of sorts. The soundscapes are occasionally haunting and the thematic material underlying the music is incredibly intriguing (Google the album to learn more about it). Unfortunately, the vocals are often buried in the instrumentals to the point where they're incoherent. Better mixing would have solved much of this album's issues - the atmosphere would be more consistently defined, the drums would be punchier and heavier, and the chords would be more easily discerned. It's a shame that a band with clear artistic interests lose so much along the way due to poor production choices.
The Killers Sam's Town
The Killers Day & Age
The Prodigy Invaders Must Die
Thousand Foot Krutch Phenomenon
Three Knee Deep Three Knee Deep
toe That's Another Story
Trivium What The Dead Men Say
Violet Cold Noir Kid
Yngwie Malmsteen High Impact
Yngwie Malmsteen Magnum Opus
Zeal and Ardor Wake of a Nation

2.0 poor
AC/DC The Razors Edge
Alpha Hopper Alpha Hex Index
Atreyu Lead Sails Paper Anchor
Avatar Feathers and Flesh
I've tried so hard with this one, but I just can't get past the sugary melodies, hamfisted attempts at "fun" song structures, and dearth of heaviness/strength/any real emotion from a supposedly metal band. I don't usually like to dump on artists for their work, but I cannot wrap my head around Feathers and Flesh.
Avenged Sevenfold Avenged Sevenfold
Baroness/Unpersons A Grey Sigh in a Flower Husk split
A reasonably poor exponent of two distinct sludgy outfits' musical stylings. Teiresias is the glimmering shiny piece in this confused jumble, but it's essentially the only redeeming factor.
Danny Lubin Laden Through Our Time
DevilDriver DevilDriver
Disturbed Indestructible
E. Town Concrete Made For War
E. Town Concrete The Second Coming
Envy Breathing and Dying in this Place
Epitimia Allusion
Five Finger Death Punch American Capitalist
Foxeagle Waves on Water
Godsmack Faceless
Gojira Fortitude
I hate this album because I am forever going to re-examine old Gojira albums ? records I trusted ? with more than a hint of suspicion. Fartitude indeed.
Hali Palombo Cylinder Loops
Ice Howl Erhan's Quest
Ill Nino Confession
Iwrestledabearonce Ruining It for Everybody
Les Chants du Hasard Livre Troisième
Limp Bizkit Chocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavored Water
Limp Bizkit Three Dollar Bill Y'all
Metallica Reload
Miles Davis Amandla
Miles Davis Dingo
Miles Davis Rubberband
Miles Davis The Man with the Horn
Mudvayne Lost and Found
Muse The 2nd Law
Muse Simulation Theory
Ozzy Osbourne The Ultimate Sin
Plini birds / surfers
Powerman 5000 Transform
Silicone Prairie My Life On The Silicone Prairie
Ska-P Eurosis
Slint Tweez
Son Lux Tomorrows III
Staind 14 Shades of Grey
Sundr Solar Ships
The Prodigy The Day Is My Enemy
Thousand Foot Krutch That's What People Do
Trivium The Crusade
Without mentioning the big M this is certainly Trivium's worst effort. There is little of redeeming value here to this day. Trivium were confused and misguided; you can tell they have some musical talent but it's really not on display.
Trivium Ember to Inferno
Vulkan Technatura
God, am I missing something here? I found this completely derivative and underwhelming. Production is fine and everything is executed reasonably well, but I've been thoroughly bored through each listen.

1.5 very poor
AC/DC Black Ice
Battles Juice B Mixed
Disturbed Immortalized
Five Finger Death Punch War Is The Answer
I rate this album poorly because 5FDP lose their souls on this album. Corporate chameleons with a hard-rock, pseudo-macho in-your-face plastic mask? I cannot abide by soulless music; at least A7X and Trivium made stuff that sounded good occasionally!
Green Day Father of All Motherfuckers
Koldovstvo Ни царя, ни бога
Megadeth Super Collider
Metallica St. Anger
Miles Davis You're Under Arrest
Miles Davis Doo Bop
Mudvayne The New Game
As a younger fellow I transitioned directly from Mudvayne's self-titled to the New Game. Suffice to say I haven't listened to Mudvayne since. A tragedy!
Music Research Strategies Eleven Postures

1.0 awful
Disturbed Evolution
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