Saturday, December 19, 2015

Listless 2015 Part Two: Metal Injection's #1's take a big #2

Don't. You'll be fucking wrong. 

So many best album year's end lists. So very little time. So in that respect, on this feature of Listless, we're gonna be mixing things up a bit. Initially Brenocide and I had discussed the top 5 EPs of the year so considered by Andy Synn of No Clean Singing. However, in the case of bigger metal blog, Metal Injection, there are several year end lists already up by several different reviewers already. Each list has 10-15 full length albums, many of which neither Brenocide or myself got the chance to listen to throughout the year. By the time we would be able to finish getting through everybody's list, it would already be too late. I would be already fully recovered from my New Year's Eve hangover. And we would already have an entire 2016 of shitty metal to look forward to.

So here's how this will work.

1. I'm doing commentary on this particular set of lists solo. Brenocide will be handling the next feature on his own (more on that later), and then we'll team up again once we get more defined, singular lists from some major publications.

2. Since there are 5 different Injection staffers involved at the time of this writing, each with their own list, I'm going to zone in on what each individual thought was their #1 absolute favorite album of the year, and review that album and that choice specifically.

3. I'm going to link to their lists so that the info is available to all of you, and from them I'm going to personally pick what I thought would have been a much more appropriate number 1 album. It never ceases to amaze me how people end up arranging these things; or how they have the capability of enjoying perfectly amazing full blown metal delicacies, only to ultimately prove that they prefer inferior lameness down the line.

Let's kick things off with the first MI staffer, Daniel Cordova.

Daniel's #1: Native Construct - Quiet World

Click here for the rest of Daniel's list.

I like progressive metal as much as the next bloke, I guess. But that's one of those terms that gets tossed around more than my junk at your sister's place, so I try not to claim it outright. It's become such a loose definition; covering a wide array of avant-garde composition, jazzy interludes, and most often modernly, just djent. This isn't djent, thankfully. Native Construct seems to me like the perfect marriage of Haken's soaring highs and BTBAM's crushing lows -- and less fortunately -- BTBAM's occasional, intentional silliness. This is good music composed by very good musicians, and it's certainly worth your while. Daniel writes "Native Construct have a knack for infusing ridiculous technicality with finesse, so it doesn’t feel like just another group of musicians over-wanking on their instruments. The diversity on this album is incredible with moments of black metal, funk, and even sections that sound like they’re right out of a Broadway musical". I agree with the lack of over-wankery. The melodies alternate abruptly much like most modern prog bands, but not to obnoxious, jarring levels.

This a great album by a great band, but is it really metal album of the year material? Maybe to a guy like Daniel, whose refined penchant for prog and metal's more delicate side is made obvious with some of the other albums that made it to his list, (Caligula's Horse, Pomegranate Tigers, Leprous and Chelsea Wolfe to name a few) Yet Native Construct is the type of prog band that isn't afraid to put a too big and thick slice of cheese right on top of what would otherwise be a satisfying, juicy musical burger. The gentleman of NC are the type of performers that make suggestions during the writing process to each other such as "hey guys, wouldn't it be funny if we put some carnival sounding ragtime big tent calliope circus music in our metal?"

You know what? No. It wouldn't be funny. It stopped being funny 4 BTBAM albums ago. Stop it.

What should have been Daniel's #1 instead:

So Hideous - Laurestine 

Ugh... The obvious choice. Definitely the very quintessential best among what was sort of an oddball selection. So Hideous' post black metal blends perfectly with symphonic overtones in a way that proceeds most acts that stand alone as either post black or symphonic black. Daniel's list was plagued with probably a few more questionable choices than the other MI writers (Jeff Wilson, Deafheaven, Clutch?), but I was glad to see this get a mention here.

Shayne's #1. King Woman - Doubt 

Click here for Shayne's list.

Really? Out of all the ear-splitting, headbanging, soul crushing, musically proficient, undeniably awesome pure metal that the world granted us in the year of 2015, Shayne Mathis picks some slow, droning, fuzzy bandcamp EP fronted by a moaning lady as his top album? Do you even riff, bro? I mean, this album was ok -- King Woman is for all intents and purpose -- ok. Yet there was even better music a lot like it to be heard this year. Hell, your list proves that much. All the stuff on it was better. How is it that King Woman is the kind of stuff specifically that puts people on cloud nine higher than other metal albums? I think I have to smoke more herb, or something.

What should have been Shayne's #1 instead: 

Mgla - Exercises in Futility

Shayne didn't get it it all wrong, hell, Shayne didin't get most of it wrong. Faceless black metal masters from Poland, Mgla was in his top 5. I'm just gonna come out and boldly state that Exercises in Futility was the best black metal release of the year. Period. Fuck you, try it with your deny it. It's in more lists than I care to share as exactly such. How the hell did King Woman top it? He had some other solid choices on his list like Yellow Eyes, Visigoth, Panopticon and Vastum to name just a few, all much better stuff. Honestly, most of his list resonates with me as a metal listener. It was really tough to pick Mgla over VHÖL as what I thought should have been his number one. He clearly has great taste, that much is apparent. I guess it's just been a rough year for him, seeing as how he mentions his dad passing after being diagnosed with brain cancer. He refers to Doubt as a "cathartic" listen for him, so we'll give him a pass as it probably helped him get to a better place. It sure didn't do it for me.

Matt's #1. Dreadnought - Bridging Realms 

For the rest of Matt's list, click here. 

Denver based folky-proggy-doomy-post rock group Dreadnought is another fuzzy, female-fronted no-name band that a completely separate member of the Metal Injection staff managed to select as his favorite album of the year. Did these two have a meeting before all this? If it were up to these guys, 2015 would be the year of the Doom chick. I've messed around with those type of girls before in my younger years, fellas. They might look cute with their patchy denim vests, wild hair, crusty boots, sloppy nail polish, nose rings and lack of make up, but more often than not, their entire personality begins and ends at marijuana. 

My proud and blatant underground metalhead misogyny aside, Dreadnought's music is truly something to be admired. It's far from balls to the wall shredtacular metal, even at its fiercest. However, if you're in the mood for something a little different, on the softer side of hard rock and harsh vocals, Bridging Realms would be a nice backdrop of a quiet Sunday afternoon spent reading, painting or writing shitty blogs about how you hate music. Matt may be under the impression that "this album is it motherfuckers", but it is far from it.

What should have been Matt's #1 instead: 

Ensiferum - One Man Army 

My immense fandom for epic, Nordic metal music was something restricted to my youngest years as a budding metalhead. Time has taken its toll upon me; leaving me cynical, tired and impossibly difficult to please. Booming synthesized symphonies, viking war chants, epic wailing guitar melodies; that which once raised many a hair on the back of my neck, now only warrants an eye-roll. So overdone, so cliche', so predictable, and at this stage of my life, just plain fucking dorky. I don't like this type of music anymore, I couldn't if I tried. The latest addition to Ensiferum's many releases is itself, far from my album of the year. It wouldn't even show up if I were to prepare my own list of twenty or so. Not even for honorable mention.

However, it was earnestly the album I liked the most out of Matt's list. (Save for the So Hideous album again at his #9). I just think One Man Army probably would have been my favorite album like 10 years ago. It gave me that feeling that you poseurs probably get when you hear a Slipknot song and get embarrassed about how much you used to love that stupid shit. This guy Matt seems like the type of guy who I would start chatting with once I found out we were both metalheads, but then spend an awkward, eternal-feeling 20 minutes lying about hearing of the bands we each asked each other about. "Oh yeah, um, I think I've heard XII Boar before. Yeah, they were pretty good from what I remember. It's been a while though, haha!" Then I would go home, get on Spotify and find out that XII Boar are another Clutchy drunken party rock band that I would never even consider thinking were "pretty good". But it wouldn't fucking matter anyway, because I would tell this guy I think they're pretty good to his face even if I knew better, just so I could be polite and avoid the social conflict. God damn it, I'm sick of being polite to you twerps about your ass taste in music. Fuck guys like Matt asking me about bands I don't know about that I have to go look up and find out I wouldn't like anyway. Stop liking things that I don't like.

Gregs' #1. Ghost - Meliora 

God damn it. No.

Click here for the rest of Greg's list.

What should have been Greg's #1 instead:

Panopticon - Autumn Eternal (or anything else, really...)

I would love to take this moment to gush about Autumn Eternal because it's a stellar album, but it's been discussed as such by numerous publications already, so I'll just take this moment instead to say fuck Ghost. Why...? Why has the collective heavy metal internet fallen head over heels in love with this soft radio butt rock bullshittery? I legitimately heard Circe on the local radio rock station when I was going through some shipping warehouse where they play that fucking music for pickup truck drivers. It was at like 2:00pm sandwiched between the usual Green Day and Nirvana easy-listening 90's alt hits where it belongs. Not here, not in my fucking backyard. These fucking clowns wouldn't have gotten a single toe forward in terms of exposure if it weren't for their dumb shit Papa Pope Spooky Face gimmick standing up there dangling his spidery gloved fingers in limpish frailty at his droves of adoring dumbshit fans. Fuck Ghost. This album and every other of theirs is soft and limp and fucking bullshit. It's not metal and it sucks. Get out. You're not welcome in my genre if you like this. Fuck off. B.C stands for Bull.Crap. You like this because it's pop music and pop music is easily digestable snacking for morons. It's the McDonald's of music, it's designed to be enjoyed and consumed by simple-minded morons. If you talk about Ghost to your friends, you might as well be talking about NFL or Big Bang Theory. I bet when Ex's and Oh's comes on the radio by Elle King, like it does 48 times a minute; you pudgy, greasy, pathetic cunts crank that shit on your Toyota car radios and tap your steering wheel along to the zazzy beat. Oh my god, die and then come back to life and redie.

So much.

Kevin's #1. Satan - Atom By Atom

You nailed it Kevin. We cool.

Tune in next week when Brenocide takes a gander at what Metal Sucks has to say about the year in metal music. I'm sure he'll be reasonable about it.

- Deth Leppard

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